Are California Employers Required To Provide Bereavement Leave?

A new California law, taking effect on January 1, 2023, requires employers to grant an eligible employee’s request to take up to five days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of a family member. The law defines “family member” as a “spouse or a child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law.”

An employee must complete statutory bereavement leave within three months of the family member’s death, and the employer may not require that the employee take the days off consecutively. Although the employer need not pay for the bereavement leave, the employer must allow employees to “use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.”


If the employer has an existing bereavement policy that provides for fewer than five days total, the employer must provide additional unpaid days to bring the number of days up to five. Although these additional days do not have to be paid, the employer must permit the employee to “use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.”

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