For employers with 5 or more employees, California implemented a law mandating that they provide 20 days (about 3 weeks) of leave per 20-month period for employees experiencing reproductive loss events. The groundbreaking piece of legislation went into effect on January 1, 2024.
It marks a crucial step in recognizing the emotional and physical toll reproductive losses take on individuals and their families.
What is reproductive loss?
California law defines a reproductive loss event as a miscarriage, stillbirth or other instance of pregnancy loss.
Per this legislation, the purpose of these 20 days (about 3 weeks) is to give the individual who suffered the loss of time to recover. It also addresses any necessary medical or psychological needs.
Changes for employers
California employers must now grant eligible employees their stipulated leave without adverse consequences.
Those facing reproductive loss events need time to recover. The new law allows this time without the fear of workplace repercussions.
The new law encourages employers to foster a compassionate and supportive work environment. Employers must understand the needs of their employees, including events like reproductive loss.
A broader societal shift
These changes reflect a shift toward addressing individuals’ mental health and emotional well-being.
It also acknowledges that reproductive loss is a traumatic experience. Such an event requires support from the community.
Through this piece of legislation, the state is communicating to employers that they should value and prioritize their employees’ emotional and physical health. The new law places a high priority on the well-being of those who experience reproductive loss.
Whatever actions other states may take, California’s new law is a significant move toward creating a more understanding society. Let’s hope other states follow suit.