What do i do if im denied bereavement leave?

My uncle just passed from cancer September 15, 2016 I was told that I could take 3 days off and get paid. I didnt go to work Monday or Tuesday but I went Wednesday and I took Thursday off since

Thursday was the funeral. I went back to work Friday and they denied me bereavement leave.

Asked on September 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Fringe benefits such as vacation time, sick days (in most cities/states) and bereavement leave, etc. are not legally mandated. In other words, they are a discrectionary benefit that an employer can choose to give or not. Therefore, to the extent it does offer them, it has a great deal of control over when and how they are used. This is true no matter what was "promised" to you unless you provided some kind of consideration in exchange (i.e. did extra work on the promise of such leave). Bottom line, absent an employment contract/union agreement to the contrary or some form of legally actionable discrimination, a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This, unfortunately, includes the denial of bereavement leave.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no legal right to bereavement leave--the law does not require it. So unless you used paid time off (e.g. vacation or personal days) you have earned or accrued, your employer was under no obligation to pay you for the lease. Further, if someone did tell you that you'd get 3 days paid, that would be an unenforceable "gratuitious" promise, not an enforceable agreement, because you did not provide anything  of value ("consideration") in return for it, to bind the agreement.

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