Parental Bereavement Leave (The Farley-Kluger Initiative to Amend the FMLA)

83,451 Letters Sent So Far

I, the undersigned, support the Parental Bereavement Leave Act as proposed in both the Senate and House that supports extension of coverage and existing benefits allowed by FMLA to employees that have experienced the death of a child.

The Farley-Kluger Initiative began in January, 2011 as a grass-roots advocacy effort to petition change. Inspired by these efforts, Senator Jon Tester (MT) has introduced S. 226 - The Parental Bereavement Act of 2013 in the U.S. Senate and Congressman Steve Israel (NY) has introduced H.R. 515 - The Parental Bereavement Act of 2013 (aka Sarah Grace-Farley-Kluger Act) in the U.S. House of Representatives in the new 113th Congress. Support needs to be given to this issue in both the House and the Senate.

The existing FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:

* for the birth and care of a newborn child
* for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
* to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition;
* to take medical leave because of a serious health condition; or
* to care for an injured service member in the family

Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

It is my strong opinion that the death of a child is one of the worst experiences that anyone can endure. I find it unacceptable that the death of a child is not included as a protected reason to qualify for the benefits that are set forth in the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.

As your constituent, I encourage you to give this issue serious consideration and co-sponsor the appropriate bill to make the necessary modification to the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. Since the existing FMLA defines a child as anyone under the age of 18, verbiage should be added to allow bereaved parents, regardless of age of the child, to qualify for these benefits.

I support Kelly Farley, Founder of the Grieving Dads Project (www.GrievingDads.com) and Barry Kluger, Author and grieving father, in their efforts to make these necessary changes and allow the time needed to begin the healing process.

The Farley-Kluger Initiative is proud to have the support of such organizations as the Polly Klaas Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers, American Counseling Association, the Elisabeth-Kubler Ross Foundation, Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA), First Candle, The Grief Recovery Institute Educational Foundation, Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), The MISS Foundation, Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc., The JED Foundation, Blue Star Families, Gold Star Mothers and Fathers, The Sarah Grace Foundation for Children with Cancer, The Children's Bereavement Center of Miami, National Students of AMF, American Academy of Grief Counseling, National Alliance for Grieving Children, Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance and The American Institute for Health Care Professionals, to name a few.

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i want to let young women who are struggling with mental health issues know that there is always someone in their lives who can help them through any challenge
As a mother that had a child, gave birth to a stillborn son, and then had another beautiful boy there is still that void. I am still grieving eleven years later. My other two children still grieve for their brother (the oldest that was waiting for us to bring him home, and the youngest that never got the chance to know). I support this petition, because families need time to grieve just as they need time to bond.
As a grieving mother, there IS no loss greater than that of a child. The effects of child loss grief are equivalent to that of being in a devastating car wreck with wounds so deep which no one can see.
I cannot imagine a worse tragedy than the loss of a child. Moving forward from such a loss is possible, as I have observed, but it cannot be done without significant time. The parents have enough on their plates without having to fight for time off from work.
Without question, the death of a child deserves inclusion in the FMLA.
The loss of a child is devastating, and parents need time to heal. Certainly those who are suffering such devastation deserve as much - perhaps more - consideration than those dealing with other life-changing situations.