Making sense of California’s Mandatory Bereavement Leave

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The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) now requires employers with five or more employees to provide five days of unpaid bereavement leave. Sparrow’s Legal and Compliance team summarizes how this might affect your company’s leave administration.


As of January 1, 2023, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) has been amended to require employers with five or more employees to provide up to five days of unpaid bereavement leave for an employee within three months of the death of a family member. See A.B. 1949.

Notably, the CFRA California’s Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act (HWHFA) have also expanded the definition of “family member.” “Family member” in this context does not include a designated person but is defined as a “spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner or parent-in-law as defined in [Cal. Gov. Code] Section 12945.2.” Mandatory bereavement leave under this law runs concurrent with an employer’s existing bereavement leave policy, whether paid or unpaid. If the leave is unpaid, an employee may substitute any accrued time off, including vacation, paid sick, or PTO, to their absence.

This is an active time for leave-related legislation. Each year, states, like California, review and revise their legislation to make it more accessible. If your team is managing leave in multiple states, staying abreast of these frequent changes can be a struggle. Outsourcing employee leave to Sparrow, the first true end-to-end leave management provider for modern employers, can provide you with confidence in your leave compliance.