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Congressman Brad Schneider

Representing the 10th District of Illinois

Rep. Schneider Joins in Introducing Bipartisan Bill to Give Parents Time Off to Mourn Loss of a Child

March 16, 2017
Press Release
Bill would expand Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include death of child

Today, Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10) joined with a bipartisan group of members of Congress including Reps. Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Don Beyer (VA-08), Martha McSally (AZ-02), Tom Suozzi (NY-03) and Barbra Comstock (VA-10) to introduce the Sarah Grace-Farley-Kluger Act.

This legislation, also known as the Parental Bereavement Act of 2017, would add “death of a child” as a life event that would qualify for unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allowing a grieving parent up to 12 weeks to deal with the trauma and then return to work.

“The death of a child is a loss like no other, leaving a hole in the heart that will never be closed but rather around which life must be slowly rebuilt,” said Schneider. “Yet current law leaves no time for employees to grieve and begin the recovery process. I am proud to help introduce this legislation to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to permit employees to take the unpaid time off they need to care for their families and heal following such a tragic loss.”

 

Photo Caption: Rep. Schneider speaks at announcement of the Parental Bereavement Act of 2017 with Barry Kluger and Reps. Gosar, McSally, and Beyer.

 

“As a father of three amazing children myself, I know I can speak for everyone here today that our goal is to protect the rights of grieving parents who face the unthinkable pain of losing a child,” said Gosar. “Expanding the FMLA to cover parents coping with the devastation of losing a child is beyond reasonable and should have been included when the legislation was originally passed.”

The bill is supported by The Farley-Kluger Initiative, a movement began in 2011 to amend FMLA to include parental bereavement as well as 20 national organizations.

“On behalf of grieving parents, and in memory of Noah and Katie Farley and Erica Kluger, we thank the sponsors of this bill for their compassion and common sense approach to American workers who suffer the loss of a child,” said Kelly Farley and Barry Kluger, authors of the Farley-Kluger Initiative. “This legislation will enable those who suffer this tragedy to take the time necessary to deal with this loss and be productive colleagues and employees, not to mention stronger family members.”

Currently, the FMLA mandates up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain family events, including the birth of a child. During that 12 week period, an employer cannot terminate an employee who qualifies for such leave. This bill does not mandate any costs to employers or the government.

The full bill text of the Sarah Grace-Farley-Kluger Act can be found here.

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