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California enacts Reproductive Loss Leave

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Effective January 1, 2024, CA employers with 5 or more employees must offer up to 5 days of unpaid leave for reproductive loss.

What is reproductive loss?

The new California law (SB 848) defines reproductive loss as any of the following:

  • Failed adoption

  • Failed surrogacy

  • Miscarriage

  • Stillbirth

  • Unsuccessful assisted reproduction (e.g., in vitro fertilization)

What other rules apply to reproductive loss leave?

  • Employees may take up to 5 days of unpaid leave per reproductive loss event, up to a maximum of 20 days in a 12-month period

  • The leave must be taken within 3 months of the reproductive loss event

  • Employers may not take adverse action against an employee who exercises their right to take reproductive loss leave

  • Employers must maintain the confidentiality of any employee who requests reproductive loss leave, and may only disclose the employee's identity internally to the extent necessary to provide the leave (or as otherwise required by law)

Why is this law important?

It is important for employers to consider the emotional toll of reproductive loss which can produce intense grief, sadness, and even feelings of guilt or isolation. These emotions can significantly affect an employee's mental well-being, job performance, and overall quality of life – but very often are not spoken about, let alone accommodated in the workplace.

By acknowledging the toll of reproductive loss and creating space for employees to communicate their needs, employers can create a supportive and inclusive workplace environment that fosters trust and loyalty to your organization. Recognizing reproductive loss also enables employers to provide necessary resources, including mental health support, which is an important consideration in selecting benefits plans during the upcoming open enrollment period.

If you need assistance updating your handbook to add a Reproductive Loss Leave policy, reply to this email or fill out our contact form below!

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