Employees Entitled to Time-Off For Reproductive Loss Events
SB 848 will amend the California Government Code to require all private employers with five or more employees to provide job protected time off to California employees for a “reproductive loss event.” The term “employee” is defined to mean any person employed by the employer for at least 30 days. The term “reproductive loss event” is defined to mean a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or unsuccessful assisted reproduction. Similar to bereavement leave, which is set forth in California Government Code section 12945.7, an eligible employee is entitled to receive up to five days of job protected time off following a “reproductive loss event,” as defined therein. Notably, the five days of leave do not need to be taken consecutively; however, the leave must be completed within three months of the reproductive loss event. If an employee experiences more than one reproductive loss event within a 12-month period, an employer shall not be obligated to grant a total amount of reproductive loss leave time in excess of 20 days within a 12-month period.
Time-Off is Likely Unpaid Except Existing Paid Leave Benefits Can Be Used
Whether the reproductive loss leave is paid or unpaid depends on an employer’s existing leave policy. If an employer does not have an existing leave policy, then all five days may be unpaid. However, while on leave, an employee is entitled to use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.
No Documentation Required
The new law does not require an employee to provide any documentation supporting their request for reproductive loss leave. This means that the eligible employee is entitled to request and take reproductive loss leave without needing to provide evidence that such leave is necessary
Retaliation for Using Reproductive Loss Is Prohibited
The law creates California Government Code 12945.6 within the California’s Fair Employment Housing Laws. The new law protects employees requesting and taking such leave against retaliation for their decision.
Employers should update their employment leave policies to include job protected leave for reproductive loss leave.