Following the trend of expanding employee leave rights, here’s one kind of leave that everyone hopes they never need. On July 29, Governor Rauner signed into law the Child Bereavement Leave Act. The statute is effective immediately.
The Act requires employers who are covered by FMLA to provide up to ten days of unpaid leave for the death of a child of an employee and up to six weeks of unpaid leave for the death of a second child in a 12 week period. Eligible employees are those that would otherwise qualify for FMLA but an employee who has exhausted their available FMLA leave will not be eligible for additional child bereavement leave.
Unlike FMLA requirements, employers cannot mandate that an employee use paid time during this leave and employees must use this leave within 60 days of the notice of the child’s death.
Employees may use unpaid bereavement leave:
1. to attend the funeral, or an alternative to a funeral, of a child;
2. to make arrangements necessitated by the death of the child; or
3. to grieve the death of the child.
Employers should consider updating their personnel policies to include Child Bereavement Leave with the hope that it is never used.