Spouse Bereavement Leave (Initiative to Amend the FMLA)

3 days bereavement is not enough time for grieving the loss of a spouse

To whom it may concern:

My name is Melinda, I am 31 years old, and widowed.

On 7/27/2010, my husband of 10 years, ended his life. I was 29 years old at the time. With one pull of a trigger, my world, soul, heart and whole life shattered into a billion pieces at my feet.

I was notified by my employer that I had 3 days of bereavement I could take. I was also notified that my situation did not fall under FMLA laws or regulations.

I was further notified that I would need to return to work within 3 business days. Within those 3 business days, I was not able to completely plan my husband?s funeral, let alone grieve.

I was forced to go back to work the day after I buried my husband. I couldn?t sleep, eat, or even drive...yet I had to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day and manage 70 employees, while trying to hold myself together.

I was unsuccessful of holding myself together at work. Most days following my return to work, I left work after working a few hours, in a panic and complete and utter physical pain.

The 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 opinion that the death of a spouse is one of the worst experiences that anyone can endure. Statistics show that the worst loss someone can face is losing a child. The second worse loss is losing a spouse.

The American Psychological Association has ranked the death of a suicide as a catastrophic stressor, on par with surviving a concentration camp experience.

Statistics also show that losing a spouse while in your early 30?s puts you at a 30% suicide chance of taking your own life. They further show that losing someone very close to you by suicide raises your suicide chance by 30%. You add the numbers together, and I, at the time, had a 60% chance of taking my own life.

Yet, I had to keep working. I didn?t have ?time? to grieve. I couldn?t take the time I needed to heal, if even a little bit, before returning to work.

I see that congress is currently being petitioned to allow FMLA leave for the death of a child.

I am petitioning that congress allow FMLA leave to grieve the loss of a spouse.

I believe that losing your whole world, life and dreams in one split second should allow you to take