LA officials approve leave for reproductive loss

To comply with state law, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday giving all city employees up to five days of leave following a reproductive loss.

Council members voted 12-0 in favor of the ordinance without prior discussion. Council members Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Bob Blumenfield and Katy Yaroslavsky were absent during the vote.

Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 848 allowing leaves of absence for reproductive-related losses. The law went into effect Jan. 1, 2024.

After 30 days of employment, city workers and sworn employees will be eligible for up to five days of leave within a 12-month period for a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction, such as intrauterine insemination.

According to the law, these leaves would be taken on assigned work days using the number of hours the employee is usually scheduled to work on those days, and may be taken as consecutive or nonconsecutive days off.

Employees could use their unpaid leave, accrued unused sick leave, accrued unused vacation time or accrued compensatory time off, or any combination, for their reproductive loss leave. The time off also needs to be taken within three months of a reproductive loss event.

If an employee experiences multiple reproductive loss events, exceeding four within a 12-month period, the aggregate time off is limited to 20 days within a 12-month period.

These leaves would be unpaid unless the employer has an existing policy requiring paid leave.

The law also requires employers to maintain employee confidentiality related to requests for and any information received concerning reproductive loss leave, and prohibits employers from disclosing such information except to internal personnel or counsel, as necessary, or as required by the law.

Under existing law, the state requires employers to provide time off upon death of an employee's family member.

The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention report that 24,000 babies are stillborn in the U.S. each year. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, miscarriages happen in around 15% of pregnancies.