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Required Bereavement Leave Sample Policy

Effective January 1, 2023

October 25, 2022 1084

Effective, January 1, 2023, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) has been amended to include a requirement that employers of 5 or more employees to provide eligible employees with 5 days of bereavement leave. It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by any employee to take up to five days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member.

Eligibility and Pay

Employees who have been employed at least 30 days before the leave are eligible to take 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave for the death of a family member. Bereavement leave is unpaid generally unless the employer has an existing policy that provides for paid leave or if the employee has accrued leave, including available paid sick leave, vacation time or PTO that they elect to use.

  • A family member is defined as including:
    • A spouse
    • A domestic partner
    • A child
    • A parent
    • A parent-in-law
    • A sibling
    • A grandparent
    • A grandchild
  • The days of bereavement leave need not be consecutive.
  • The bereavement leave shall be completed within three months of the date of death of the family member.

You need not pay hourly employees for any time that they do not work, including partial days of absence. You must pay salaried employees for any day in which they perform any work. If the exempt employee is absent for one full day or more, you can deduct from their salary in increments of one full day or more.

Documentation

Employers are permitted to request documentation of the death of the family member, which can include a death certificate, a published obituary, or a written verification of death, burial, or memorial services from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution, or government agency.

Employers are required to maintain the confidentiality of any employees requesting bereavement leave.

While AB 1949 amends the CFRA, the leave is separate from other leave offered to employees for their serious illness or to care for another with a serious illness.

Employers should update existing policies that provide less than five days of leave to ensure they meet the five day requirement.

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