On June 10, 2022, Illinois signed and amended the Family Bereavement Leave Act (“FBLA”), formerly known as the Child Bereavement Leave Act. The act will take effect on January 1, 2023. With the FBLA, employees can take bereavement leave for the deaths of immediate family members, in addition to children, and the act expands to address grief related to pregnancy loss and failed adoptions.
The FBLA expands the Child Bereavement Act in several of the following ways:
- FBLA guarantees bereavement leave following the death of a:
- domestic partner
- mother-in-law or father-in-law
- FBLA covers events resulting in pregnancy loss, including a:
- unsuccessful reproduction procedures
- failed adoptions
- any diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility.
Coverage and Support for Spouses and Partners
Under the FBLA, employees can take up to 10 workdays of unpaid leave annually. The reasons for leave are comprehensive. For example, employees can use leave for arranging and attending a funeral of a covered employee, as well as taking time off to grieve. Additionally, employees will also be able to take this time to support a spouse or partner experiencing one of these losses. To be eligible for this bereavement leave, an employee must have been on the job for at least twelve months or, worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer.
How to Manage Documentation
The FBLA provides specific procedures employers must follow to require reasonable documentation which shows the occurrence of any of the above events. Employers must follow these requirements when requesting documentation to substantiate leave, namely:
- The medical professional treating the afflicted family member or the agency coordinating the surrogacy or adoption must fill out a particular form published by the Illinois Department of Labor. This form is forthcoming from the DOL. You can contact us or use our appointment link below if you need help getting a copy.
- The documentation must certify that the employee experienced an event relating to a failed pregnancy, assistive reproduction procedure, adoption or surrogacy that is covered by the law .
- The employer must not require that the employee identify the specific event category for which the employee is seeking leave as part of requesting reasonable documentation
What Your Business Can Start Doing Now
Right now, employers should update their bereavement policies now so that they’re ready to comply with these new requirements by year end. They should also begin factoring in the potential for additional absenteeism and associate staff cost effects of the new law as part of their budgeting and planning process for 2023.
Let Savine Employment Law, Ltd. Help You!
If you’re an Illinois employer and you need help updating bereavement or other policies, schedule an appointment with us here to talk with us about how we can help!
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Gary Savine is an Illinois employment lawyer and founder of Savine Employment Law, Ltd. in Chicago. Gary regularly advises human resources professionals on recently enacted employment laws.
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