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Legislative Update: Illinois Mandates Child Bereavement Leave

The death of a child is a very traumatic event for a parent. The grieving process is a difficult one. Federal law does not provide a leave of absence for this purpose. Most employers only provide employees a three day period for bereavement/funeral leave for the death of a child.

On July 29, 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Illinois Child Bereavement Leave Act, effective immediately.

What EMPLOYERS are covered under this law?

ONLY employers covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (50 employees within a 75 mile radius of the employee's worksite).

What EMPLOYEES are covered under this law?

ONLY employees covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (employed one year and worked 1,250 hours in the last year).

What unpaid leave is the EMPLOYEE entitled to?

  • Two weeks (ten working days) in the event of the death of the employee's child.
  • Up to six weeks if employee suffers the loss of more than one child in a 12 month period.
  • Leave must be taken within 60 days of the notice of loss.
  • Employee must give at least 48 hours' notice to the employer, if practicable.
  • Employee can use accrued paid time off to be paid on this leave.

How can the EMPLOYEE use the leave?

  • To make the arrangements for the funeral or other alternative arrangements.
  • To attend the funeral or alternate arrangements.
  • To grieve the death of the child.

How is child defined under the law?

Biological children, stepchildren, adopted and foster children and child of a person standing "in loco parentis".

Employers may want to update their funeral leave policy in their employee handbooks to reflect this new Illinois law.

Questions? Contact Attorney Anthony Caruso at Wessels Sherman St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at

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