Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law a bill that further expands California unpaid leave by
allowing employees to take protected time off due to “reproductive loss.” Senate Bill 848 (“SB 848”),
signed into law on October 10, 2023, will require employers to adjust their policies and procedures for
leaves of absence in California once it takes effect on January 1, 2024. Here are the top six things
California employers need to know about this impending law:

1. It Contains Broad “Employee” and “Employer” Definitions
SB 848 will amend the California Government Code to require private employers with five (5) or more
employees (and public employers of any size) to provide protective time off to California employees for
a “reproductive loss event.” The term “employee” is defined to mean any person employed by the
employer for at least 30 days.

2. Reproductive Loss Event is Also Broadly Defined
The term “reproductive loss event” is defined to mean a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage,
stillbirth, or unsuccessful assisted reproduction. If the employee would have been recognized as a
parent if the forementioned events were successful, the employee will be covered under this

3. Provides Reproductive Loss Leave
Similar to bereavement leave, which is also known as California Government Code Section 12945.7, an
eligible employee is entitled to receive up to five (5) days of protective time off following a failed
adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or unsuccessful assisted reproduction. The five (5)
days of leave do not need to be taken consecutively. However, the leave must be completed within
three (3) months of the reproductive loss event.

4. Payment for Leave Depends on Circumstances
Whether the reproductive loss leave is paid or unpaid depends on an employer’s existing leave policy.
If an employer does not have an existing leave policy, all five (5) days may be unpaid. However, while
on leave, an employee is entitled to use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or
compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.

5. Employees Are Not Required to Provide Documentation Supporting Leave Request
Unlike bereavement leave, in which employees are required to provide documentation demonstrating
the death of a family member, the new law does not require an employee to provide any
documentation supporting their request for reproductive loss leave. This means that the eligible
employee is entitled to request and take reproductive loss leave without needing to provide evidence
that such leave is necessary.

6. Employers Are Required to Maintain the Confidentiality of the Employee Requesting Leave
The new law requires the employer to maintain the confidentiality of any employee requesting
reproductive loss leave. This means that the employer is responsible for ensuring that any information
provided by the employee concerning this act remains confidential and is only shared with internal
personnel or counsel as needed.

What Should You Do Next?
You should review your policies and procedures for compliance. If your policies do not already provide
for leave of absences for reproductive loss, you should consider updating your company policies and
handbook. You should also educate any individual involved in handling requests for leaves of absence.

Garcia & Gurney, A Law Corporation is proud to represent employees in California whose rights have been violated in any way. For help with a labor and employment issue or other business law matters in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, contact us today by phone at 925-468-0400 or online.