Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Bereavement Leave Laws in California - Pride Legal

Bereavement leave, also referred to as grievance pay, is given to employees who need time away from their job after losing a loved one. Bereavement leave can be paid or unpaid. There are no laws requiring bereavement leave in California. As such, the provision of bereavement leave is up to an employer’s discretion.

Qualifications for Bereavement Leave

Bereavement leave policies can vary between employers. Bereavement leave policies can vary based on the amount of leave given, which family members the policy applies to, and whether bereavement leave can be used in place of sick or vacation leave.

In addition, some companies have paid bereavement leave while other companies offer unpaid bereavement leave. Due to the fact that the federal Department of Labor does not require employers to offer bereavement leave, it is up to individual states to decide whether they want to have bereavement laws. Private company employees and government employees also have different bereavement benefits.

Which Family Members Qualify?

The loved one typically has to be an immediate family member. Those who fall under this category include children, spouses, parents, and siblings. In California, the policies and requisites for bereavement leave are up to each employer.

Do Part-Time Employees Receive Bereavement Leave?

In California, there is not a law in place requiring employers to provide paid or unpaid bereavement leave. This means that employers are not mandated to grant any employees with a certain amount of bereavement leave time. Employees should reach out to their employer in order to understand their specific bereavement leave policies. For most companies, part-time employees receive the same bereavement leave benefits (or lack thereof) as full-time employees.

How Many Days of Bereavement Leave do Employees Receive?

Typically, employers will provide three days of bereavement leave. At times, bereavement leave can last two weeks. In California, the amount of time given for bereavement leave is up to the specific company an employee works at.

States’ bereavement leave laws vary significantly. As of January 2014, the state of Oregon is one of the few states that requires employers to offer paid bereavement leave. Massachusetts has a similar requirement. Illinois requires employers to offer 10 days of unpaid leave after the death of an employee’s loved one. This mandate applies regardless of the individual who passed. By contrast, Maine has a unique mandate where employers are required to offer leave to employees who lost a family member who was an active duty member of the Armed Forces.

The states mentioned above are the only ones to have laws pertaining to bereavement leave, so it is important for employees outside of these states to check with their employers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are all employees given bereavement leave?

A: To figure this out, it is important to reach out to your employer. Most employees receive leave, but not always.

Q: Are there bereavement leave laws for California?

A: No, there are not any laws regarding bereavement for California. California is one of the many states in which bereavement leave is not mandatory for employers to offer.

Q: Do I have to provide proof of death to my employer in order to receive bereavement leave?

A: Depending on your employer, you may be asked to provide proof of death of your loved one before being granted bereavement leave. This may come in the form of an obituary, a death certificate, or a notice from the funeral or wake ceremony.

Q: What is the difference between bereavement leave and funeral leave?

A: Although both are similar, bereavement leave refers to the time an employee will spend grieving the death of their loved one. Funeral leave refers to the few days it will take to prepare for the funeral service.

Q: Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) cover bereavement leave?

A: No, FMLA cannot be used for bereavement leave. FMLA can be used for childbirth, adoption, caring for immediate family members, and medical leave due to a serious illness. Also important to note is the fact that the FMLA only applies to companies with fifty or more employees, elementary and secondary schools, and public agencies.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one wishes to request bereavement leave in California, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.

Share This