What You Need To Know About Bereavement Leave

Bereavement LeaveUpdated October 30, 2022

Grief and Bereavement in California

There is no Federal law mandating bereavement leave, so each state is left to legislate this process (if they so choose) independently.

California recently created a bereavement leave requirement that becomes effective on January 1, 2023. It applies to businesses with five or more employees – and you can read more about it below.

As with all company guidelines, each business should have an employee handbook outlining every policy – and if they don’t, we have contacts for them to set one up.

Some companies will offer time off based on employment status and whether an employee is part-time or full-time. Again, it depends on their own policies in their employee handbook.

With that said, employers with four or fewer employees cannot block an employee from taking up to three days off for bereavement – paid or unpaid.

And if they have five or more employees, effective January 1, 2023, they’re allowed up to five days time off following the death of a loved one.

Actual Text from the California Labor Code:


Section 230.5 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

(a) It is unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by any employee to take up to three days of bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner.

Also noteworthy:

If a company does not have a policy such as paid bereavement, employees could use their sick time that’s mandated by the State, if they have any available. They could also use PTO (paid time off) or any other time off accrual.

We hope you never have to mourn the loss of a loved one, but it’s best if employers and employees know these rules before they actually need them.

If you have bereavement policy questions for a different state, just message us.

Bereavement Leave – UPDATE 10/30/22

California Creates Bereavement Leave Requirement

“On September 29, 2022, Governor Newsom signed AB 1949, which creates protected bereavement leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

As of January 1, 2023, AB 1949 makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to grant an eligible employee the opportunity to take up to five days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member.

As does CFRA, this new requirement applies to employers with five or more employees.”

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