On October 11, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that provides workers with up to five (5) days of leave in the event of a reproductive-related loss. Under the new law (Senate Bill 848), it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to grant an eligible employee’s request to take up to 5 days of reproductive loss leave in the three months following a reproductive loss event which 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.”
Should a worker experience more than one case of miscarriage in a given 12-month period, the employer must grant workers as much as 20 days of pregnancy loss leave. Employers are not required to give employees additional time off for miscarriage beyond that. Leave under the statute is unpaid, unless the employer has an existing policy requiring paid leave. Eligible employees may choose to use any accrued and available sick leave, or other paid time off, for reproductive loss leave.
In addition, under the new law, an employer is prohibited from retaliating against an employee because of the individual’s exercise of the right to reproductive loss leave or “the individual’s giving of information or testimony as to reproductive loss leave”. The law also requires the employer to maintain employee confidentiality relating to reproductive loss leave.