Anyone who has suffered a traumatic reproductive event understands the grief that accompanies it. For too long, employers have expected parents to continue to show up for work despite their mental pain and anguish.
However, that is due to a change in a new law that takes effect on January 1, 2024.
California’s SB 848
California is known for implementing progressive labor laws, often blazing the trail in addressing the evolving needs of its workforce. SB 848, signed into law on October 11, 2023, significantly changes how employers must handle their employees’ leaves of absence.
It states that reproductive loss is now considered a category of protected leave and allows an eligible employee to request up to five days of leave within three months of a reproductive loss event. It goes up to a maximum of 20 days in a 12-month period if an employee suffers multiple events.
A reproductive loss event includes a variety of circumstances, including:
- Unsuccessful assisted reproduction, including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or other fertility treatments
- Failed adoption
- Failed surrogacy
While time off for a reproductive loss event is unpaid, an employee can use accrued sick time or paid time off.
SB 848 has significant implications for employers and employees in California. It recognizes the emotional and psychological impact associated with reproductive loss. It expands the scope of protected leave, requiring businesses to adjust their leave policies accordingly. Employers must ensure they have systems in place to track these absences.
Furthermore, employees must be aware of their rights. SB 848 prohibits retaliation against any employee who requests leave for reproductive loss. Therefore, any employee should feel empowered to report any violations of this new law.