California’s New Reproductive Loss Leave Law Will Support Struggling Parents

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In California, a recently passed law that will allow parents who have had a reproductive loss, such as miscarriage or stillbirth, to take leave from work will go into effect in 2024.

The time off is a result of Senate Bill 848, an amendment to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The measure makes it illegal for an employer to decline a qualified employee’s request for up to five days of reproductive loss leave following a reproductive loss occurrence.

SB 848 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 11, 2023, and takes effect on January 1, 2024.

California's New Reproductive Loss Leave Law Will Support Struggling Parents
Image by: The New York Times

In addition to miscarriage and stillbirth, it encompasses reproductive loss events such as unsuccessful adoption, failed surrogacy, failed artificial insemination, or embryo transfer. A person who would have been a parent if the loss had not occurred has the right to use reproductive loss leave.

Pay for maternity leave

During reproductive loss leave, employees are not paid, but SB 848 allows them to use any earned leave, including paid sick leave and personal hours. Employees can also choose to take time off without pay with no consequences.

Exceptions to the leave for reproductive loss

Imagine an employee has more than one reproductive loss event during 12 months. According to SB 848, in that circumstance, the employer is not required to provide more than 20 days of reproductive loss leave in 12 months.

In addition, the measure stipulates that reproductive loss leave be taken within three months of the occurrence.

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