HANDBOOK HELPER EPISODE 38 BEREAVEMENT LEAVE POLICY « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


As of January 1, 2023, California employers of five or more on payroll must provide up to five days of consecutive or non-consecutive unpaid bereavement leave to eligible full-time or part-time employees upon the death of a “qualified family member” (e.g., spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in law), which must be taken within three months of the death.

Employees must be employed at least 30 days prior to commencement of the leave and although unpaid, the employee may choose to use any available paid sick leave or vacation/PTO benefits.

Policy Drafting Tips:

  • Define a “qualified family member;”
  • Explain how employees can take a maximum of five consecutive or non-consecutive days off within three months of the date of death;
  • Describe eligibility criteria;
  • State the leave is unpaid but employees may choose to use available paid sick leave or vacation/PTO benefits;
  • Determine whether the employee must provide documentation of the family member’s death; and
  • Confirm that the company shall maintain employee confidentiality.


Implement and regularly review your handbook to include a bereavement leave policy, and educate and train your supervisors on these laws.

We publish this series to educate employers on best practices for a well-written handbook that assists applicants, employees, and management alike. To purchase our 2023 template handbook – which contains the above policy and much more – and accompanying forms or for more information, please contact Office Manager Aimee Rosales at 626.583.6600 or officemgr@tbowleslaw.com.

See also:

Cindy Bamforth
September 21, 2023

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