University of Illinois System

Unpaid Family Bereavement Leave

The Family Bereavement Act (Illinois Public Act 102-1050) provides ten days of unpaid leave time for eligible employees. The availability of unpaid Family Bereavement Leave is reflected on this page and the availability of paid bereavement leave is reflected on the corresponding Paid University Funeral/Bereavement Leave page.

Select one of the following links or scroll down for specific information:

Qualifying Events
Utilizing Both Paid Funeral/Bereavement Leave and Unpaid Family Bereavement Leave
Covered Family Members
Other Provisions
Approval and Documentation

Benefits Continuation


All University of Illinois individuals in a paid position that are eligible for Family and Medical Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 are eligible for unpaid Family Bereavement Leave.

Qualifying Events

Eligible employees may receive unpaid Family Bereavement Leave for the following reasons:

  1. attend the funeral, or an alternative to a funeral, for a covered family member;
  2. to make arrangements necessitated by the death of the covered family member;
  3. grieve the death of the covered family member
  4. be absent from work due to (i) a miscarriage; (ii) an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or of an assisted reproductive technology procedure; (iii) a failed adoption match or an adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party; (iv) a failed surrogacy agreement; (v) a diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility; or (vi) a stillbirth.

Utilizing Both Paid University Funeral/Bereavement Leave and Unpaid Family Bereavement Leave

University of Illinois employees eligible for paid Funeral/Bereavement Leave receive five (5) days of paid leave for qualifying events. The State of Illinois Family Bereavement Act allows for eligible employees to take ten days of unpaid leave. The maximum amount of unpaid bereavement days is ten days, and these days may run concurrently with paid University Funeral/Bereavement Leave.

Employees have the option to take family bereavement leave with or without pay. To continue in pay status, employees can use accrued sick, vacation, or floating holiday leave in accordance with University leave provisions. Leave taken will count toward the maximum ten day entitlement.

If an employee cannot return to work because of special circumstances at the completion of the allowable unpaid Family Bereavement Leave, they may consult with their university or System Office human resource office.

Employees should consult with their university or System Office human resource office if they are unclear about how much time they are eligible for.

Covered Family Members

Covered family member for qualifying events listed under (#1-3) includes an employee’s:

  • Child
  • Stepchild
  • Spouse
  • Domestic Partner
  • Sibling
  • Parent
  • Mother-in-law
  • Father-in-law
  • Grandchild
  • Grandparent
  • Stepparent

Qualifying events listed under (#4) may apply to the employee or the employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

Other Provisions

An employee may take this leave and it will not count towards the FMLA entitlement. However, the Act does not create a right for an employee to take unpaid leave that exceeds the unpaid leave time available under FMLA. Therefore, employees who have exhausted their 12-week FMLA entitlement may not take the additional days under this Act.

 Leave provided under this Act must be used within 60 days after the employee receives notice of the death of the covered family member, or within 60 days of other events listed under (#4) in Qualifying Events. Unpaid Family Bereavement Leave may be taken as a block of time, or intermittently and in full day increments, unless used in conjunction with paid Funeral/Bereavement Leave. If eligible and using Paid University Funeral/Bereavement Leave in conjunction with Unpaid Family Bereavement Leave, the five (5) paid days and the five (5) unpaid days must be used as a block of time, in full day increments.

Relationships existing due to marriage will terminate upon the death or divorce of the relative through whom the marriage relationship exists. Current marital status will be defined in accordance with Illinois State law.

If an employee suffers the death of more than one covered family member in any 12-month period, from the date of first qualifying event, the employee is entitled to take up to six (6) weeks of unpaid Family Bereavement Leave.

Approval and Documentation

Employees requesting unpaid Family Bereavement Leave must request the leave with their human resources department contact, university human resources, or system human resources. Employees may be asked by their department human resources representative or appliable human resources office to provide substantiation of the leave (qualifying reasons #1 - #3) and reasonable documentation including but not limited to a medical certification filled out by the health care provider or documentation from an adoption or surrogacy organization for the leave (qualifying reason #4).

Leave Application: Family and Medical Leave / Parental Leave / Unpaid Family Bereavement LeavePDF

Family Bereavement Leave Act 10(a)(4) Leave Form

Benefits Continuation

While utilizing unpaid Family Bereavement Leave, employees continue to receive the same State and University benefits as when actively working. All employer-paid contributions continue. Employees should consult with University Payroll & Benefits about any questions regarding their benefits continuation. Additional information, including an employee’s responsibility to pay premiums during their leave, can be found on the System HR website, Family and Medical Leave – Benefits Continuation.


General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure
Paid University Funeral/Bereavement Leave
U of I Leave Usage Report (MS Excel Format)

Policy and Rules for Civil Service Staff

Currently under review.