A newly passed Illinois law (the Child Bereavement Act) requires Illinois employers who are covered under the FMLA to provide employees with unpaid bereavement leave in the event of the death of the employee’s child.
Under the new law, an employee is entitled to receive a maximum of 2 weeks (10 work days) of unpaid bereavement leave to:
- attend the funeral or alternative to a funeral of the employee’s child;
- make arrangements necessitated by the death of the employee’s child; or
- grieve the death of the employee’s child.
For purposes of this leave, “child” means the employee’s son or daughter who is a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis.
An employee is required to provide the employer with at least 48 hours’ advance notice of the employee’s intention to take bereavement leave for this purpose, unless providing such notice is not reasonable and practicable. The employee may also choose to substitute paid leave he have accrued, such as sick or personal days, for the bereavement leave; thereby making the leave a paid leave of absence. Finally, the employee must complete the leave within 60 days after the date on which the employee receives notice of the death of the child.
An employer may require that the employee provide “reasonable documentation” (e. g. 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) of the employee’s need for this type of leave.
In the event of the death of more than one child in a 12-month period, an employee is entitled to up to a total of 6 weeks of bereavement leave during the 12-month period.