On October 11th, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 848 into law, which requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide reproductive-related loss leave of absence. This leave allows employees to take up to 5 days of leave following a reproductive loss event. This law went into effect on January 1, 2024.

It is important to note that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage and employees who utilize this leave are likely suffering mental, emotional, and/or physical distress. As such, it is best practice for employers to clearly communicate that this leave is available to all employees.

Previous Law

Prior to 2024, California law provided bereavement leave for the loss of a family member; however, the law did not specify how reproductive-related losses were to be addressed by employers. As such, this new law is a subset of California’s Bereavement Leave Law. The law does not require employees to submit medical documentation to take Reproductive Loss Leave.

What’s changed?

With the new law, employees who have worked for at least 30 days are eligible for 5 days of reproductive loss leave. A “reproductive loss event” is defined as “the day or, for a multiple-day event, the final day of a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction.” This leave may be unpaid, unless the employer has an existing policy offering paid time off which may be used under this circumstance. Employees may choose to use any accrued time off if needed.

The law limits the amount of reproductive loss leave to a maximum of 20 days within a 12-month period and within 3 months of the event; however the time does not need to be taken consecutively.

How does this work with existing state programs?

If an employee uses Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) or leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), the reproductive loss leave can commence within 3 months from the end of either PDL or CFRA.

Employer Action

  • Ensure current handbooks/leave policies are updated with the new entitlement for reproductive loss.
  • Provide training for managers, supervisors, and Human Resources on this new law.
  • Determine if this leave will be paid or unpaid by the company.

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Allison McCullick — Allison is a Human Resource Business Partner for Sequoia One where she acts as a strategic advisor to her clients. In her free time, Allison enjoys listening to country music, spending time outdoors with her family, and doing home improvements.