Legislative Update: California adds pregnancy loss leave to current leave laws

Last Updated 10/16/2023

California Governor Gavin Newsom has just signed Senate Bill 848, a bill designed to add pregnancy loss to the existing bereavement leaves already available to employees. This adds to other employee-friendly legislation recently passed by the state Legislature, including the increase of employee sick leave from 3 days to 5 days, which we recently reported on.

New Government Code section 12945.6 as enacted by SB 848 includes the following key highlights:

  • SB 848 requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide eligible employees (those that have worked at the place of employment for at least 30 days) with up to 5 days of reproductive loss leave following a reproductive loss event defined as a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction.    
  • Provides that 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 that period.
  • Requires the employer to allow the days an employee takes for reproductive loss leave to be nonconsecutive and to be completed within three months of the event entitling the employee to that leave.
  • Provides that, if, prior to or immediately following a reproductive loss event, an employee is on or chooses to go on leave from work pursuant to California’s existing Pregnancy Disability Leave or California Family Rights Act, or any other leave entitlement under state or federal law, the employee shall complete their reproductive loss leave within three months of the end date of the other leave.
  • Provides that reproductive loss leave shall be taken pursuant to any existing applicable leave policy of the employer and, if none exists, reproductive loss leave may be unpaid, except that an employee may use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.
  • Makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to retaliate against an individual, including, but not limited to, refusing to hire, discharging, demoting, fining, suspending, expelling, or discriminating against, an individual because of either of the following:
  • An individual’s exercise of the right to reproductive loss leave.
  • An individual’s giving information or testimony as to their own reproductive loss leave, or another person’s reproductive loss leave, in an inquiry or proceeding related to rights guaranteed under this section.
  • Makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of, or attempt to exercise, any right provided under these provisions.
  • Requires the employer to maintain the confidentiality of any employee requesting leave under these provisions. Requires that any information provided to the employer shall be maintained as confidential and shall not be disclosed except to internal personnel or counsel, as necessary, or as required by law.
  • Provides that an employee’s right to reproductive loss leave shall be construed as a separate and distinct right from any right under this part.

Due to the legislative changes to employment laws this year, including this new pregnancy loss leave law, please know that Rosasco Law Group, APC is here to update those employee handbooks for your office. Give us a call and we can make sure your handbooks are up to code.

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