Child Bereavement Leave Act Amendments

The Child Bereavement Leave Act (“CBLA”) initially required employers to provide employees up to 10 work days of unpaid leave annually to grieve the death of a child. The CBLA has been amended to provide more health benefits. These amendments take effect on January 1, 2023.

The CBLA’s name will now be changed to the Family Bereavement Leave Act (“FBLA”). The FBLA now requires employers to provide employees up to 10 work days of unpaid leave annually to grieve the death of any “covered family member.” The FBLA defines “covered family member” as an employee’s child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, stepparent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, or grandparent.

The FBLA requires employers to provide employees unpaid bereavement leave to:

  • Attend the funeral or alternative to a funeral of a covered family member.
  • Make arrangements necessitated by the death of a covered family member.
  • Grieve the death of a covered family member.
  • Be absent from work due to: (i) a miscarriage; (ii) an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or an assisted reproductive technology procedure (e.g., artificial insemination or embryo transfer); (iii) a failed adoption match or adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party; (iv) a failed surrogacy agreement; (v) a diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility; or (vi) a stillbirth (collectively, “Child-Related Event”).

An employee must complete bereavement leave within 60 days from the date the employee receives notice of the death of a covered family member or the occurrence of a qualifying event that is a Child-Related Event.

An employee must provide the employer with at least 48 hours notice of the employee’s intention to take bereavement leave unless providing such notice is not reasonable or practicable under the circumstances.

An employer may, but is not required to, require reasonable documentation. Documentation may include a death certificate, a published obituary, or written verification of death, burial, or memorial services from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution, or government agency. For leave resulting from a Child-Related Event, reasonable documentation shall include a form, to be provided by the Illinois Department of Labor, to be filled out by a healthcare practitioner who has treated the employee or the employee’s spouse or domestic partner, or surrogate, for a Child-Related Event, or documentation from the adoption or surrogacy organization that the employee worked with related to a Child-Related Event certifying that the employee or his or her spouse or domestic partner has experienced a Child-Related Event. The employer may not require that the employee identify which category of event the leave pertains to as a condition of exercising rights under the FBLA.

Employers should update their employment handbooks and policies to account for these new changes.

If you need legal assistance on a specific matter or would like a review of your forms, policies, or company practices concerning any of the new laws or requirements, please contact Donald S. Rothschild or Brian M. Dougherty.

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