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3 facts California workers should know about bereavement leave

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2023 | Employment Law |

California often leads the way when it comes to workers’ rights. Lawmakers in the Golden State are known for creating new standards that exceed the federally-available rights of workers. For example, the state recently instituted a new law that protects workers by guaranteeing their ability to take leave for bereavement in specific circumstances.

Other types of unpaid leave that are often available to workers do not apply in scenarios where someone dies. Bereavement leave gives people an opportunity to travel for a funeral or simply process their emotions before returning back to a demanding job. What do workers in California making use of bereavement leave need to know about this new option?

Who qualifies

The rules for bereavement leave have standards that apply both in terms of the size of the organization and the employee’s work history with the company. Generally, a worker needs to have been with an organization for at least 30 days to qualify for bereavement leave. The company will need to have at least five employees for bereavement leave rules to apply.

Which losses qualify

Not every loved one has the type of relationship that will allow someone to use unpaid bereavement leave as outlined in California law. The rules for bereavement leave specifically focus on close family relationships. Those who lose a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, sibling, grandparent or parent-in-law will have the option of taking bereavement leave. Those who lose a cousin, a romantic partner that they did not marry or a close friend will not qualify.

How long leave lasts

Every qualifying death in someone’s immediate family can result in up to five days of bereavement leave. There isn’t a limit that says an individual can only take bereavement leave once per year. The rules also do not require that someone takes all of their leave at once. They could take a day or two of leave for the funeral and then the remainder of their bereavement leave within three months of the date of someone’s passing.

People deserve the space they require to work through their feelings in the wake of a great loss. Making use of California’s new bereavement leave law could benefit those who have recently lost a loved one during the first days after news of a loss has broken.