On September 29, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1949 into law, which grants employees in the state of California up to three days of bereavement leave per year beginning on January 1, 2023. This new law is a significant win for workers in California and recognizes the importance of taking time off to grieve the loss of a loved one.
Under the new law, employees are eligible for bereavement leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 90 days before taking leave. The leave can be taken for the death of a family member, which includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or the equivalent of any of these family members. It can also be taken for the death of a close friend or a person who stood in loco parentis (in place of a parent) to the employee.
The three days of bereavement leave do not have to be taken consecutively and can be taken at any time during the year following the employee's notification to their employer of the need for leave. Employers cannot retaliate against employees who take bereavement leave, and they must maintain the employee's health benefits while they are on leave.
The passage of Assembly Bill 1949 is a significant step towards providing workers with the support they need during difficult times. Grieving the loss of a loved one is an emotionally taxing experience, and it can be challenging to focus on work while trying to come to terms with the loss. The new law recognizes the importance of taking time off to grieve and allows employees to prioritize their emotional well-being without worrying about losing their job or benefits.
Moreover, bereavement leave has been shown to have positive effects on employee morale, productivity, and retention. When employees are allowed to take time off to grieve, they are better able to process their emotions and return to work with a clear mind, ready to perform their duties. This, in turn, benefits employers by reducing the likelihood of employees quitting due to burnout or emotional distress.
The passage of Assembly Bill 1949 is a significant win for workers in California. The new law recognizes the importance of taking time off to grieve the loss of a loved one and provides employees with the support they need during difficult times. It also benefits employers by increasing employee morale, productivity, and retention. Overall, this law is a positive step towards creating a more supportive and compassionate workplace for all Californians.