2115 - Bereavement Leave
- Labor Relations Officers
- Personnel Officers
- Personnel Transactions Supervisors
- Describes the entitlement of bereavement leave for represented and excluded employees.
Bereavement is a leave granted to represented and excluded employees as outlined in the “Statement” section below.
Bereavement leave is used following the death of eligible individuals. Bereavement leave days need not be consecutive but shall be taken pursuant to applicable laws, regulations, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and policy.
Permanent Excluded Employees
Government Code section 19859.3 provides excluded permanent employees bereavement leave with pay for the death of a person related by blood, adoption, or marriage, or any person residing in the immediate household of the employee at the time of death. Bereavement leave shall not exceed three days with pay for any one occurrence. However, a request for two additional days of bereavement leave shall be granted, at the option of the employee, as either dock or as a charge against any accrued sick leave credit. The additional two days is not limited to out of state travel. If more than five days of bereavement leave is necessary, the employee may use accrued vacation, compensating time off, or take an authorized leave without pay, subject to the approval of the appointing power. If a permanent excluded employee does not have the specified leave credits to cover a bereavement leave absence beyond the first three paid days, a request for additional time off using other accrued paid leave may be made in accordance with existing rules and policies.
Excluded permanent intermittent employees may be granted bereavement leave, if the employee is scheduled to work on the day(s) for which the leave is requested, and for the number of hours the employee is scheduled to work those day(s), not to exceed three days with pay for any one occurrence. A request for two additional days of bereavement leave shall be granted, at the option of the employee, as either dock or as a charge against any accrued sick leave credit. The additional two days is not limited to out of state travel. If more than five days of bereavement leave is necessary, the employee may use accrued vacation, compensating time off, or take an authorized leave without pay, subject to the approval of the appointing power. If an excluded permanent intermittent employee does not have the specified leave credits to cover a bereavement leave absence beyond the first three paid days, a request for additional time off using other accrued paid leave may be made in accordance with existing rules and policies. Permanent intermittent employees shall not be removed from scheduled work hours because the employee is on bereavement leave. Fractional time base employees shall be eligible for bereavement leave on a pro-rata basis, based on the employee’s fractional time base.
|Time Base||Hours for Each Bereavement Day|
“Permanent employee” means an employee who has permanent status. “Permanent status” means the status of an employee who is lawfully retained in his or her position after the successful completion of the probationary period. “Permanent status” also means an employee who is lawfully appointed to his or her position after successful completion of the job examination period under the Limited Examination and Appointment Program (LEAP).
For permanent excluded employees, the length of time following the death in which bereavement leave must be taken is at the discretion of the appointing power.
All State Employees Except Permanent Excluded Employees
Effective January 1, 2023, Assembly Bill 1949 added section 12945.7 to the Government Code. Pursuant to this section, all state employees who are not permanent excluded employees covered by Government Code section 19859.3, and who have been employed for at least 30 days, are entitled to a minimum of five days of bereavement leave for the death of a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, and grandchild.
Unless there is an existing policy applicable to an employee providing a greater benefit, including paid bereavement leave pursuant to an applicable MOU, bereavement leave under Government Code section 12945.7 shall be unpaid, except that an employee may use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee. Bereavement leave pursuant to Government Code section 12945.7 does not need to be taken on consecutive days but must be completed within three months of the death of a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, and grandchild.
Historically, an employee could not break the continuity of dock to take bereavement leave. An employee could go from dock status to bereavement leave, if upon the expiration of the bereavement leave the employee returned to work. An employee could not go from dock status to bereavement leave and then back to dock status. Effective January 1, 2023, it is an unlawful employment practice to refuse to grant an eligible employee's request for bereavement leave pursuant to Government Code section 12945.7, regardless of dock status.
Government Code section 12945.7, as described above, sets forth the minimum bereavement leave entitlements, including eligibility and the number of days of bereavement leave for specified family members. For represented employees, refer to the applicable MOU to determine if an employee is entitled to greater bereavement leave entitlements.
The MOU applicable to the employee will describe eligible relationships, whether the bereavement leave allowance is per fiscal year or per occurrence, and other criteria. Most permanent or probationary intermittent employees are entitled to bereavement leave on a pro-rata basis for scheduled workdays, calculated on the amount of time worked in the pay period. Part-time employees are entitled to bereavement leave calculated on the fractional time base of the employee for those days scheduled to work.
The length of time following the death in which bereavement leave under an MOU must be taken is at the discretion of the appointing power, unless stated otherwise in the applicable MOU.
Government Code section 19859.3 and 12945.7 require an employee to provide substantiation for bereavement leave requests. Substantiation may include, but is not limited to, a written and signed statement from the employee that states the relationship to the deceased and the date of death, or a copy of an obituary or funeral pamphlet if the employee and the relationship is listed. If an excluded employee does not provide substantiation, time off will not be documented as bereavement leave and the employee must use other available leave credits.
For represented employees, refer to the applicable MOU to determine if substantiation may be requested. If the MOU allows departments to request substantiation, CalHR recommends that the same or similar process for excluded employees is followed to ensure the appropriate use of this leave. At a minimum, departments should identify the category of eligible relationship for which leave is granted.
- Bargaining Contracts - MOUs
- California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 559.923
- Government Code section 19859.3
- Government Code section 12945.7
- PML 1982-001: PML 1982-001 - 10/1/1982 - Bereavement Leave
- PML 1982-011: PML 1982-011 - 12/10/1982 - Bereavement Leave
- PML 1987-013: PML 1987-013 - 8/7/1987 - Bereavement Leave - Non-Represented Employees
- PML 1987-027: PML 1987-027 - 12/28/1987 - Memo MM87-27 Scanned Hardcopies and Nonrepresented Fractional Time Base Employees
Chief, Personnel Management Division
Personnel Services Branch
Personnel Program Consultant , Personnel Services Branch
Superseded PoliciesNot Applicable.
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