New Law Establishes Reproductive Loss Leave in California

new California law makes it an unlawful employment practice for a covered employer to refuse to grant a request by an eligible employee to take up to 5 days of reproductive loss leave following a “reproductive loss event.” “Reproductive loss event” means the day or, for a multiple-day event, the final day of a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction.

Covered employers include either:

  • A person who employs 5 or more persons to perform services for a wage or salary; or
  • The state and any political or civil subdivision of the state, including, but not limited to, cities and counties.

Eligible employees include those employed by the employer for at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the leave.

The law requires that leave be taken within 3 months of the event, and pursuant to any existing leave policy of the employer. If an employee experiences more than one reproductive loss event within a 12-month period, the employer is not obligated to grant a total amount of reproductive loss leave time in excess of 20 days within a 12-month period.

In the absence of an existing policy, the reproductive loss leave may be unpaid. However, employees may use certain other leave balances otherwise available to the employee, including accrued and available paid sick leave.

Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against an individual because of their exercise of the right to reproductive loss leave or the individual’s giving of information or testimony as to reproductive loss leave.

The law becomes effective on January 1, 2024.