Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed HB 2950 to add bereavement to the list of protected leave categories under the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Under the law, employees within 60 days of the death of a family member will be able to take two weeks of leave to attend the funeral or other service, to make necessary funeral arrangements, or simply to grieve.

Oregon thus becomes the first state to mandate time off for bereavement.

Bereavement leave is not covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), however, so all such leave must count solely as OFLA leave. OFLA leave, as applicable, can cover 12, 24 or 36 weeks. OFLA requires Oregon businesses with 25 or more employees to provide unpaid time off for illness, injury, child birth, adoption, and beginning in 2014, bereavement.