What are your rights as an employee in California when you lose a loved one?

What are your rights as an employee in California when you lose a loved one?

Losing a loved one is an incredibly painful experience.  Aside from processing feelings of loss and sadness, the experience is compounded when you also have to worry about taking time off from work to plan and attend a funeral.  Prior to AB 1949 going into effect, employees did not have any protections for taking bereavement leave. 

Effective January 1, 2023, workers are entitled to 5 days of bereavement leave when they lose a loved one.  This applies to taking time to grieve after the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild or parent-in-law.  To be eligible for bereavement leave, an employee must have been employed for at least 30 days before taking the leave.  The rule applies to private employers with five or more employees.  It is also available to employees who work for the state of California and for local governments.

Person crying

Employees are entitled to take up to five days of bereavement leave upon the death of any family member described above.  For example, if an employee loses a parent and a sibling in the same year, that person can take up to five days of bereavement leave for each death.

The five days of bereavement leave are separate and distinct from the 12 weeks of leave permitted under CFRA, which is an additional form of protected leave.

There is no entitlement to paid bereavement leave.  However, if an employee has accrued paid time off, this can be used to receive pay for the bereavement days taken. 

Your employer cannot discriminate against you for requesting or taking bereavement leave.  It is illegal to terminate, demote or suspend you in retaliation for taking bereavement leave.

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