As part of a summer that has seen a dramatic expansion of workers’ rights throughout the state, Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed the Child Bereavement Act, which immediately expands the types of leave individuals can take under federal labor laws. Effective immediately, most workers in Illinois may take up to 10 non-paid days off from work to mourn the loss of a child.
Individuals covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are now eligible to take child bereavement leave. The FMLA extends to employees working in companies employing at least 50 employees and gives employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during the year to take care of a sick family member.
Should an employee lose two children within a year, they are entitled to up to six weeks of child bereavement leave. Grieving workers cannot exceed their total 12 weeks of paid leave with their time off allotted for child bereavement leave.
How soon do I have to take my child bereavement leave?
Workers utilizing their child bereavement leave must do so within 60 days of the child’s passing and give 48 hours advanced notice if it is practical or reasonable. The time off can be used for a multitude of different matters, including mourning the loss of the child, making funeral arrangements, and attending the burial of their child.
Employer retaliation protections under the FMLA
Employers may not retaliate or take adverse actions against employees who choose to take time off to care for a sick family member or to bury their child under the FMLA. These protections also extend to employees who oppose other practices that may violate the FMLA and workers standing up for the rights of their coworkers under the Act.
Employees who feel their rights were violated under the FMLA should strongly consider speaking to an experienced Illinois employment lawyer to help them file claims with the Illinois Department of Labor. Contact Goldman & Ehrlich online or call 312-332-6733 to speak to one of our experienced labor law attorneys about your case and find out what your legal options are.