ILLINOIS (WEHT) – More families in Illinois will have the ability to grieve for the loss of a family member without risking job loss.

Governor JB Pritzker signed the Family Bereavement Act, an amendment to the Child Bereavement Leave Act that expands leave time requirements to cover pregnancy loss, failed adoptions, unsuccessful reproductive procedures, and other diagnoses or events impacting pregnancy and fertility.

SB3120 requires paid leave for pregnancy loss or other situations impacting fertility, adoption, or pregnancy, and that was signed into law on June 9. SB3120 also mandates leave after the loss of family members previously not covered in the act.

“Over my life, I watched as my parents struggled with the loss of family, and saw people close to me struggle with fertility challenges and pregnancy loss,” said Kyra Jagodzinski, who originally proposed and wrote the bill. “As a 17-year-old, I did my best to comfort them but found a system that left them without support. The Act provides Illinois residents with time to grieve the loss of immediate family members and to-be family members. I am grateful to have worked with a leader in our legislature, Senator Melinda Bush, attorney Ashley Stead, Governor Pritzker, and the Illinois Legislature to support our communities in their time of need.”

Illinois says the Support Through Loss Act requires employers in the state to provide for two weeks of unpaid leave for employees who experience a miscarriage, an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or other assisted reproductive procedure, a failed or non-finalized adoption match, a failed surrogacy agreement, a diagnosis affecting fertility, or a stillbirth. Employees can also utilize this time off to support a spouse or partner experiencing one of these losses.

Illinois says the act also requires employers to provide ten days of leave to employees attending the funeral of a covered family member, making necessary arrangements due to the death of a covered family member, or grieving the death of a covered family member. The bill expands the definition of a covered family member to include children, stepchildren, spouses, domestic partners, siblings, parents, parents-in-law, grandchildren, grandparents, or stepparents.

Illinois says these provisions ensure employees across the state can take time to grieve before returning to work without fear of termination. The act also specifies that the employee does not have to identify which category of event they are taking leave for, even if they are required to provide documentation. The Department of Labor will provide forms for health care practitioners to verify the leave-inciting event without violating patient privacy.

“The emotional anguish suffered after a miscarriage or stillbirth is often debilitating,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “Returning to work sooner than they’d like leaves little room for grief, mourning and healing. I am proud to have passed this law alongside the help of a passionate, young teen who saw the need for change and pushed to make it happen.”