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New Paid Sick Days & Reproductive Loss Leave

California passed SB 616 that increased paid sick days for employees from three per year to at least five per year, while also increasing the accrual and carryover amounts.


California also passed SB 848 requiring most employers to provide reproductive loss leave to qualifying employees beginning in 2024. The new law will be added to California Government Code section 12945.6.


The law will require private employers with five or more employees and public employers regardless of size to provide up to five days of reproductive loss leave when requested by an employee following a reproductive loss event. Reproductive loss events include failed adoptions, failed surrogacies, miscarriages, stillbirth, and unsuccessful assisted reproduction, as those terms are defined.


An employee may be considered to have experienced a reproductive loss event if the employee would have been a parent of the child: if, for example, the adoption had been completed, or if the child had been born as a result of surrogacy or pregnancy.


An employee must be employed by the employer for at least 30 days prior to the leave to qualify for it. The leave must be taken within three months of the reproductive loss event, and employees may take days of the leave nonconsecutively.


If an employee experiences more than one reproductive loss event, the employer must grant leave for each event, except that employers are not obligated to provide more than 20 days of reproductive loss leave time within any 12-month period.


The law does not require reproductive loss leave to be paid unless an employer has an existing applicable policy requiring paid leave. If the leave is unpaid, employees may use vacation, sick, or other accrued paid time off during the leave.


Employers are prohibited under the law from retaliating against any employee for utilizing or inquiring about leave for a reproductive loss. Employers also must keep any information related to an employee’s request for reproductive loss confidential, and may disclose that information to internal personnel or counsel only as necessary or as required by law.


Unlike California’s bereavement leave law (Government Code section 12945.7), which requires employees, upon request by the employer, to provide documentative proof the of a family member’s death (such as a death certificate or published obituary), Government Code section 12945.6 does not permit employers to require documentation supporting an employee’s leave request for a reproductive loss.


California employers should ensure that their employee handbooks and policies are updated appropriately to comply with the new law. Employers should also ensure that their personnel such as human resources and management professionals are also trained accordingly.


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