Am I Entitled to Bereavement Leave?

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Posted by Legal Team On August 12, 2023

The loss of a family member is devastating. It changes the focus of any day. The last thing you can think about is going to work and having to put a smile on your face. At the same time, you also cannot afford to lose your job. You may be asking, “Am I entitled to bereavement leave?”

California law provides specific protections for individuals when it comes to bereavement leave. Under the Civil Rights Department, these rights are protected. You have the right to leave work for a period of time in some situations. This law applies to companies that have five or more employees. Here is what you should know.

Which Family Members Qualify for Bereavement Leave?

You may be eligible to take bereavement leave if the person is:

  • A spouse
  • Child
  • Sibling
  • Parent
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Parent-in-law

Many times, employers will allow for bereavement for other people as well. The key here is that there must be a family relationship established.

Are You Entitled to This Benefit?

To be eligible for it, you must have worked for the company long enough, which is typically at least 30 days prior to the incident. If you are new to the company and tragedy occurs, you may not be protected under this law. However, many employers will still provide you with protection.

Do You Still Have to Follow the Employer’s Requirements for Taking Time Off?

The law in California does not supersede all rules in place by employers. Often, for example, employers require employees to provide notice of time off or require that a person contact the human resource team to inform them of the missing work. If that is a policy previously in place, you must continue to follow it.

However, the employer’s existing bereavement leave policy must meet what the state has agreed to, which is providing at least five days of time off following the death of a close family member. If your employer’s rules just give you a day off, that may be a violation of these rules.

Common Questions Regarding Bereavement Leave in California

As a newer rule, it is quite common for people to have a number of questions about this type of situation. While every case is different, the following are some common questions.

What Happens if There is More Than One Death Per Year?

You can take up to 5 days of time off per person who passes that meets the qualifications of this law.

Does Taking Bereavement Time Mean You Are Losing Your Vacation Time?

Bereavement time is separate from other types of leave you can request from your employer. You may also be able to take time under the California Family Rights Act Leave if you qualify.

Does Your Employer Pay For You to Take This Time Off?

Unless you use your paid time off, the employer is not required to pay you for bereavement leave.

Have Your Rights Been Violated?

If you were denied the ability to take time off or you feel other abuses occurred, let us help you. Contact The Armstrong Law Firm to request a free consultation.