Nurturing bodies, honoring loss - The new huge impact of California’s recent SB 848 now explained

SDOC News

Starting January 1, 2024, California's Senate Bill (SB) 848 will require employers to grant eligible employees up to five days of reproductive loss leave. Enacted on October 11, 2023, SB 848 applies to all private employers with five or more employees.

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Embryo, approximately 8 weeks from conception, 10 weeks estimated gestational age from LMP.Photo bylunar caustic, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What is considered a "reproductive loss?"

Under SB 848, a reproductive loss includes the following:

Miscarriage "by a person, by the person's current spouse or domestic partner, or by another individual if the person would have been a parent of a child born as a result of the pregnancy."

Stillbirth "resulting from a person's pregnancy, the pregnancy of a person's current spouse or domestic partner, or another individual, if the person would have been a parent of a child born as a result of the pregnancy that ended in stillbirth."

Failed adoption is "the dissolution or breach of an adoption agreement with the birth mother or legal guardian, or an adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party. This event applies to a person who would have been a parent of the adoptee if the adoption had been completed."

Failed surrogacy is "the dissolution or breach of a surrogacy agreement, or a failed embryo transfer to the surrogate. This event applies to a person who would have been a parent of a child born as a result of the surrogacy."

Unsuccessful assisted reproduction is "an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or of an assisted reproductive technology procedure. This event applies to a person, the person's current spouse or domestic partner, or another individual if the person would have been a parent of a child born as a result of the pregnancy."

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Senate Bill No. 848Photo bySDOC News/Legislative Counsel Bureau

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Purpose and Impact of SB 848

Currently, employees of employers with five or more employees may take up to 12 weeks of family leave to care for a newborn child or to care for family members facing a severe medical condition. Additionally, bereavement leave is available upon the death of specific family members.

Despite the existence of these leaves, there is nothing that specifically addresses the unique challenges faced by a worker undergoing reproductive assistance. According to the Bill's Senate Floor Analysis,

Approximately half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and up to 15 percent of known pregnancies end in the traumatizing event of miscarriage or stillbirth. Existing family leave programs don't fully apply to parents experiencing reproductive loss.

Additionally,

Bereavement Leave does not include instances of stillbirth, miscarriage, fertility, or adoption loss events suffered by millions of family. Additionally, PDL only applies to the parent physically carrying a child to term and does not provide leave time to the other parent

SB 848 Key takeaways

Employees may take up to five days of reproductive loss leave after a reproductive loss event, not to exceed 20 days within 12 months for multiple events.

Leave days taken for reproductive loss leave may be nonconsecutive.

Employees have 90 days from the event to complete leave.

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