We Protect Workers

Reproductive loss leave for employees

People create their families in all kinds of ways these days. When their hopes and plans for new addition – no matter how that child is coming to them – fall apart suddenly, it can be a devastating loss for both parents. 

That’s why as of the start of the new year, California employers are required to provide a five-day “reproductive loss” leave to their employees. The new law also states that employers cannot retaliate against an employee that seeks this leave.

When does an employee qualify for this leave?

Both would-be parents are entitled to take all or part of this leave if they or their spouse or partner experienced any of these types of reproductive loss:

  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • “Failed” adoption 
  • Unsuccessful reproductive technology procedure 
  • Unsuccessful reproduction using a surrogate 

An employee can take the leave any time within three months after the loss. 

The law doesn’t require that it be paid.  However, it does state that employees can use “certain other leave balances otherwise available….including accrued and available paid sick leave.” If the loss involved the employee’s own pregnancy, they may also be able to use pregnancy disability leave (PDL), which is up to four months of unpaid leave before and/or after the birth.

Some employers, of course, are more generous than others. You may have no trouble being able to take time off (even paid time) to deal with any kind of reproductive loss. Other employers, unfortunately, need a law in place to provide their workers with even minimum benefits. Even then, they too often either don’t know the law or simply don’t comply with it. 

It’s important to know your rights so that you can effectively assert them if you need to. If that doesn’t work, or if you face retaliation for asking for what you’re entitled to, having legal guidance can help protect your rights and your employment.