AB 1949 Signed: Bereavement Leave Now Protected Under CFRA

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) has been seeing a lot of changes lately. One of the latest changes to the CFRA is bereavement leave being added as one of the types of protected leaves in California. This comes after Governor Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 1949, which goes into effect in January 2023. This new law applies to employers with at least five employees. From January 2023, the CFRA will entitle eligible employees to five days of unpaid bereavement leave. Before the signing of AB 1949, employers were not legally obligated to provide bereavement leave to employees.

Understanding AB 1949

Bereavement leave is a kind of leave that an employer gives an eligible employee after the employee loses a family member or loved one. Assembly Bill 1949 requires employers with at least five workers to give five days of bereavement leave to qualifying workers. Apart from losing a loved one or family member, an employee must meet other requirements to qualify for bereavement leave. The employee must have been employed for not less than thirty days before the leave.

In regards to who is considered a family member, below is a list;

  • A child 
  • A spouse
  • A parent
  • A domestic partner
  • A sibling
  • A parent-in-law
  • A grandchild
  • A grandparent 

The law does not require employers to provide employees with paid bereavement leave, but if an employee has accrued leave, including sick leave or vacation time, they can use those leave days and get paid bereavement leave. Also, an employee can get paid bereavement leave if their employer has an existing policy that provides for paid leave. 

While employees now have the right to request bereavement leave, you should know that employees must take the leave within three months of the death of their loved one or family member. However, you do not have to take all five days consecutively. 

It is crucial to note that employers are not mandated to provide bereavement leave to workers who have been employed for less than thirty days. Also, it is vital to note that employers are allowed to ask for documentation of the death of the loved one or family member, including a death certificate or a published obituary. If requested by the employer, an employee has thirty days to provide documentation of the death of the loved one or family member. 


According to AB 1949, an employer is required to maintain the confidentiality of any employee requesting bereavement leave. Employers are also required to maintain the confidentiality of any documentation provided by an employee. 

Employees Covered by Collective Bargaining

Apart from employees who have not been employed for at least 30 days, AB 1949 does not apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement if the agreement provides for, among other things, bereavement leave equivalent to that required by AB 1949. 

Lastly, it is vital to note that it is also unlawful for an employer to refuse to give a person a job or for an employer to terminate, suspend, fine, excel, or discriminate against a person because of the person’s exercise of the right to bereavement leave. 

Talk to a California Employment Lawyer

If you have questions about AB 1949, do not hesitate to talk to a California employment lawyer.