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New California law will allow workers leave for reproductive loss

California will allow leave for reproductive loss
California will allow leave for reproductive loss 02:56

SACRAMENTO — A new law taking effect in 2024 will ensure California workers are given time off for reproductive loss.

CBS13 spoke with the senator behind the bill and a mother who experienced late-term pregnancy loss.

"I was at full term. I was on my due date. I was ready to go, and all of a sudden, there was no heartbeat," Esmiralda Garcia said.

In May of 2015, Garcia was faced with her worst nightmare. Despite a perfect pregnancy through nine months, something went terribly wrong the day she was supposed to deliver her baby girl, Camille.

"I was waiting to give birth to her, and she was a stillborn," Garcia said. "So it was pretty horrifying."

It was horrifying for Garcia, her husband, and her two boys who were 8 and 4 years old at the time.

It's a heartbreak that so many families have experienced, but a new California law taking effect in 2024 is meant to help ease the burden on families like the Garcias.

"Everyone's been touched by either miscarriage or a loss of trying to become a family," said California Senator Susan Rubio.

Sen. Rubio introduced and helped pass Senate Bill 848, employment leave for reproductive loss.

"It recognizes just the pain felt by the family, and it gives family time to grieve and try again," Rubio added.

Under the new law, California companies with five or more employees will be required to provide bereavement leave to those experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth, failed IVF, failed adoption, and other reproductive loss.

"We have a lot of LGBTQ couples who are trying to adopt. We have a lot of non-traditional families that are trying to become a family, so really this affects everyone," the senator said.

An employee will be granted five days of protected leave per quarter, capped at 20 days per year.

"We are trying to protect a worker's right to come back to work without retaliation," Rubio said. "So I hope that families that are grieving now can stay home and really take care of themselves before they come back to work."

For Garcia and her family, no amount of time off can ever take away the pain of losing their baby girl.

"I could still remember the darkness, the cloud, just being in your darkest moment," she said.

But in those dark moments, Garcia found hope in her garden.

Her grief transpired into a succulent business in her late daughter's honor where she now creates arrangements for other reproductive loss families.

"That was her purpose, that was Camille's purpose, and that's how I want to think of it.," Garcia said. "To help other parents and just to spread love and spread joy."

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