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SB-549 Employee’s right to bereavement leave.(2007-2008)

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Enrolled  September 07, 2007
Passed  IN  Senate  September 06, 2007
Passed  IN  Assembly  September 04, 2007
Amended  IN  Assembly  July 02, 2007
Amended  IN  Senate  June 04, 2007
Amended  IN  Senate  April 25, 2007
Amended  IN  Senate  April 10, 2007
Amended  IN  Senate  March 26, 2007


Senate Bill
No. 549

Introduced  by  Senator Corbett
(Coauthor(s): Senator Kuehl)

February 22, 2007

An act to add Section 230.5 to the Labor Code, relating to employee rights.


SB 549, Corbett. Employee’s right to bereavement leave.
Existing law provides employees with the right to take time off work without discharge or discrimination for a number of reasons.
This bill would add the right to inquire about, request, and take time off for bereavement leave. For state employees, if this leave conflicts with a memorandum of understanding, the terms of the memorandum of understanding would be controlling.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 Section 230.5 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

 (a) An employer shall not discharge, discipline, or in any manner discriminate against an employee for inquiring about, requesting, or taking up to four days of bereavement leave off upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner.
(b) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Child” has the same meaning as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 233.
(2) “Employee” means a person employed by the employer for at least 60 days prior to the commencement of the leave.
(3) “Parent” has the same meaning as defined in paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 233.
(4) “Domestic partner” has the same meaning as defined in Section 297 of the Family Code, who is registered pursuant to Part 2 (commencing with Section 298) of Division 2.5 of the Family Code.
(5) “Sibling” has the same meaning as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 362.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(c) The days of bereavement leave need not be consecutive.
(d) The bereavement leave must be completed within 13 months of the date of death of the person listed in subdivision (a).
(e) The bereavement leave is to be unpaid, except that an employee may use vacation, personal leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.
(f) The employee, if requested by the employer, shall, within 30 days of the leave, provide documentation of the death of the person listed in subdivision (a). “Documentation” includes 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.
(g) An employee who is discharged, disciplined, or otherwise discriminated against in terms or conditions of employment by his or her employer because the employee has inquired about, requested, or taken bereavement leave pursuant to this section is entitled to reinstatement and to recover actual damages.
(h) An employee who believes he or she has been discharged, disciplined, or in any way discriminated against in violation of this section may take either of the following actions:
(1)  The employee may file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in accordance with Section 98.7 of the Labor Code.
(2) The employee may bring a civil action for the remedies provided in subdivision (g) in a court of competent jurisdiction. If the employee prevails, the court may award the employee reasonable attorney’s fees.
(i) The rights and remedies of this section are cumulative, nonexclusive, and in addition to any other rights and remedies afforded by contract or other provisions of law.
(j) In any case where the provisions of this section are in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding agreed to pursuant to Section 3517.5 of the Government Code, the memorandum of understanding shall be controlling without further legislative action, except that if the provisions of the memorandum of understanding require the expenditure of funds, those provisions shall not become effective unless approved by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act.
(k) The Director of the Department of Personnel Administration may establish bereavement leave requirements for civil service employees of the state who are not state employees under subdivision (c) of Section 3513 of the Government Code, and for executive branch officers and employees who are not members of the state civil service under Part 2 (commencing with Section 18500) of Division 5 of Title 2 of the Government Code.