Effective January 01, 2023
Affects employers with 5 or more employees.
AB 1949 expands the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to include at least 5-days of unpaid bereavement leave to employees of employers with 5 or more employees. Bereavement leave allows employees to request time off after the death of a family member. What is the eligibility and criteria for this new leave?
Employers with 5 or more employees
Must provide no less than 5-days of unpaid bereavement leave to employees that have worked for at least 30-days prior to the beginning of the leave.
Employees may take bereavement leave after the death of a family member. Family member is defined as “…a spouse or a child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law as defined in Section 12945.2.”
Employers may ask for documentation of death which employees must provide within 30-days from the first day of leave. Acceptable documentation may include, but is not limited to, a death certificate, published obituary, or verification of death from “…a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution, or governmental agency.”
Employees do not need to take consecutive days off; they are permitted to take days as needed. All leave days, consecutive or otherwise, need to be completed within 3-months from the date of death.
If an employer does not have an existing bereavement leave policy the 5-days may be unpaid, however, employees may utilize “…vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.”
If an employer has a current bereavement leave policy, paid or unpaid, that provides less then 5-days, they must provide the days in accordance with the current policy PLUS the additional days up to a total 5-days (e.g., if a current bereavement policy provides 3-days of bereavement, an employer must provide an additionally 2-days, for a total of 5-days). The additional days not covered under the current bereavement leave policy may be unpaid, however, employees may utilize “…vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.”
It is unlawful for an employer to deny an employee’s bereavement leave request up to 5-days for the death of a family member. Additionally, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate, retaliate or otherwise take adverse action against employees that exercise their right to bereavement leave, or that provide information or testimony on their behalf, or the behalf of a coworker, with respect to bereavement leave rights under this section.
This law does not apply to employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement that provides at least 5-days of bereavement leave “…and for wages, hours of work, and working conditions of the employees, and if the agreement provides premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked, where applicable, and a regular hourly rate of pay for those employees of not less than 30 percent above the state minimum wage.”