March 28, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 87


March 27, 2023

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Illinois Enacts Child Bereavement Leave Act

On July 29, 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law the Illinois Child Bereavement Leave Act (the “Act”). The Act, which became effective upon signing, provides certain Illinois employees up to ten workdays of unpaid leave to grieve the death of a child.  Employees who have been employed for twelve months or longer and worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous twelve-month period for an employer with fifty or more employees are eligible for bereavement leave under the Act.  Eligible employees may request and take leave for the death of a biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild, legal ward or a child of a person standing in loco parentis.  The leave may be used to: attend the child’s funeral or an alternative to a funeral; make arrangements necessitated by the child’s death; or grieve the death of the child.

Application, LeaveIf an employee intends to take leave under the Act, notice to the employer must be provided at least forty-eight hours’ in advance, if reasonable and practicable.  Employers may also require reasonable documentation (e.g., death certificate, published obituary, or written verification of death, burial or memorial services).  The bereavement leave must be completed within sixty days from the date the employee receives notice of his or her child’s passing.  In lieu of unpaid leave, an eligible employee may elect to take leave pursuant to a different leave policy or obligation provided by the employer, under a collective bargaining agreement, or under applicable law (e.g., family, medical, sick, annual, or personal leave).  The Act does not grant eligible employees right to take leave that exceeds, or is in addition to, the unpaid leave time allowed under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

In the event of the death of more than one child in a twelve-month period, an employee may take up to six weeks of bereavement leave during that period.

Employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against employees exercising their rights under the Act, opposing practices that employees believe are in violation of the Act, or supporting other employees who request or use the bereavement leave.

© 2023 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 245

About this Author

Steven J Pearlman, Labor Employment Law Firm, Proskauer Law firm

Steven Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm's Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group, resident in the Chicago office. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination and harassment, wage-and-hour laws and breaches of restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition agreements). He has successfully tried cases to verdict before judges and juries in Illinois, Florida and California, and defended what is reported to be the largest Illinois-only class action in the history of the U.S....

Sunghee W Sohn, Proskauer, collective bargainng lawyer, labor counseling attorney

Sunny Sohn is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the firm’s Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group.

Sunny represents clients before federal and state courts as well administrative agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

She counsels employers in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction, transportation, hospitality, consulting...