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Am I Required to Provide Bereavement Leave?

As of January 1, 2023 employers who have 5 or more employees are required to allow employees to take up to five (5) days of unpaid Bereavement Leave as a protected absence upon the death of certain family members.  Under this new law, a “family member” is defined as a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, state-registered domestic partner, and parent-in-law.  Employees are able to use any Paid Sick Leave or Vacation time to get paid for this time off. Additionally, employers can choose to provide employees with paid Bereavement Leave days as a benefit to employees.

Take note that this new law prohibits employers from denying Bereavement Leave that this new law requires, as well as interfering with such leave. Additionally, an employer cannot discriminate against, discharge, demote, fine, suspend, or expel an employee for exercising the right to Bereavement Leave, nor can an employer refuse to hire an individual for having done so. 

Can you provide paid leave vs. unpaid leave?  What are your options as an employer.  Well, as the typical lawyer will answer, “it depends.” How does this new law interact with Paid Sick leave and other leaves?  Can an employer ask for documentation to ensure that there was an actual death in the family? 

To learn more about Bereavement Leave and for assistance in drafting a compliant Bereavement Leave policy, contact the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.

This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute legal advice.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact  Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500 for legal assistance near you. (photo credit: depositphotos.com).


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