New Mandatory Bereavement Leave Considered by California Legislature | Jackson Lewis CP

In 2020, the California legislature considered a bill that would require employers to grant employees bereavement leave, but the legislation has not made it to the governor’s office.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1949 reintroduces the idea of ​​mandatory bereavement leave and expands the compensation of the 2020 proposal. AB 1949 would make it an illegal employment practice for an employer to refuse access upon a request by an eligible employee to take up to 5 days of bereavement leave in the event of the death of a family member, including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, -parent, grandchild, domestic partner or step-parent. AB 1949 would require the leave to be completed within 3 months of the date of death. The bill would also require the employer to maintain employee confidentiality regarding bereavement leave.

The bill would require that the leave be taken in accordance with any existing employer bereavement leave policies. Under the bill, in the absence of an existing policy, bereavement leave would not be paid, however, the bill would allow an employee to use certain other leave balances available to the employee, including accumulated and unused paid sick leave. If an employer’s existing leave policy provides for less than 5 days of bereavement leave, the bill would require the employer to provide a total of at least 5 days of bereavement leave to employees.

AB 1949 would not apply to employees who are covered by a valid collective agreement which provides prescribed bereavement leave and other specified working conditions.

Jackson Lewis will continue to monitor legislation that affects employers.