December 6, 2022 --
The California Legislature has added a new bereavement leave requirement that applies to all public agency employers, and all other employers who employ 5 or more persons. Government Code section 12945.7 (a part of the California Family Rights Act) takes effect January 1, 2023, and requires covered employers to provide eligible employees with up to 5 days of bereavement leave for the death of a family member (i.e., spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law).
To be eligible for the leave, the employee must be employed by the employer for at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the leave. The new law does not apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that provides at least 5 days of bereavement leave, premium pay for all overtime hours worked, and an hourly rate of pay of not less than 30% above the State minimum wage (i.e., at least $20.15 per hour for 2023).
The leave can be taken intermittently or all at once, and must be taken within three months of the family member’s death.
If the employer has an existing bereavement leave policy, the employer may require that the bereavement leave be taken pursuant to that policy. The existing employer policy will determine whether the leave is paid or unpaid. If the employer’s policy provides 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave, the employee may use available sick time, vacation, personal leave, or compensatory time to receive pay for the days. If the employer’s existing policy provides fewer than 5 days of bereavement leave, the employer must still allow the employee to take 5 days of bereavement leave, and the employee may use available sick time, vacation, personal leave, or compensatory time off to receive pay for the days that are additional to those provided in the employer’s policy.
If the employer does not have an existing bereavement leave policy, the 5 days of bereavement leave may be unpaid, but the employee can use available sick time, vacation, personal leave, or compensatory time off in order to receive pay for the leave.
If requested by the employer, the employee must provide documentation of the death within 30 days of the first day of the leave. The documentation includes, but is not limited to, a death certificate, a published obituary, or a written verification of death, burial or memorial service from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution, or government agency. The employer must preserve the confidentiality of the employee’s leave request and the documentation proving the need for bereavement leave, except the information can be provided to internal personnel or counsel as necessary, or as required by law.
If you have questions concerning this new law, please contact Monna Radulovich, Joan Pugh Newman, or other members of the A&W Labor & Employment Law Group.
Aleshire & Wynder LLP provides unparalleled legal representation to local communities throughout California. Our attorneys have been loyally serving public agencies for over 35 years.
Monna R. Radulovich of Aleshire & Wynder, LLP’s at email@example.com.
Ms. Radulovich practices exclusively labor and employment law. She regularly advises employers regarding employee relations, and compliance with labor and employment laws and applicable labor agreements.
Joan Pugh Newman of Aleshire & Wynder, LLP’s at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Pugh Newman’s specialty is advising employers regarding employee relations and compliance with employment laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, the California Family Rights Act, the Pregnancy Disability Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and State discrimination laws.
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