Permanent or probationary full-time State employees and excluded employees are granted bereavement leave with pay for the death of an immediate family member.

The provisions of bereavement leave differ depending on whether the employee is excluded or rank and file.

Excluded Employees
Bereavement leave, as defined in the Government Code section 19859.3, states:

  1. Any permanent employee who is either excluded from the definition of state employee in subdivision (c) of GC section 3513, or is a non-elected officer or employee of the executive branch of government who is not a member of the civil service, shall be granted bereavement leave with pay for the death of a person related by blood, adoption, or marriage, or any person residing in the immediate household of the employee at the time of death. The employee shall give advance notice to the employee's immediate supervisor and shall provide substantiation to support the request.
  2. For any one occurrence, the bereavement leave shall not exceed three days. However, if the death occurred outside this state, a request for two additional days of bereavement leave shall be granted, at the option of the employee, as either without pay or as a charge against any accrued sick leave credit.
  3. If additional bereavement leave is necessary, the employee may use accrued vacation, compensating time off, or take an authorized leave without pay, subject to the approval of the appointing power.

Rank and File Employees
The provisions of bereavement leave can be found in the bargaining unit contracts and may vary between bargaining units.


The Classification and Pay (C&P) Analyst provides information to management and represented employees on the provisions of bereavement leave as outlined in the Government Code (excluded) and bargaining unit contracts (rank and file).

If there is a dispute regarding contract language, the C&P Analyst refers the supervisor and/or represented employee to Labor Relations.


Employees are required to notate in the Project Accounting and Leave (PAL) comment section the employee’s relationship to the decedent.

Employees shall, if requested, provide substantiation of the eligible family member’s passing (i.e. obituary, a prayer card, or program from the funeral services) to support the use of bereavement leave.

A chart was developed to provide guidance to employees/supervisors on the definition of eligible family members; however, employees are encouraged to check their bargaining unit (BU) contracts for allowed time off and eligible family members. For bargaining units with an existing MOU, if the MOU contains bereavement leave language that is in conflict with this chart, the MOU language shall be controlling.


Responsible Control Agency

  • California Department of Human Resources

Laws and Regulations

Other Resource Materials