A Republican congressman from Florida is joining the charge to expend leave time for families suffering from the loss of a child.
At the end of last week, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster joined several members of Congress, including Democrat U.S. Reps. Don Beyer of Virginia, Brad Schneider of Illinois and Tom Suozzi of New York and Republican U.S. Reps. Paul Cook of California and Paul Gosar of Arizona in calling to reform the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
“Family and life are some of our most precious gifts,” said Webster as he announced his support for the legislation. “As a father and grandfather, I cannot fathom the grief that comes with the loss of a beloved son or daughter. Updating the Family and Medical Leave Act to allow employees protected time-off to grieve their tragic loss is the right thing to do.”
Schneider is the main sponsor of the “Parental Bereavement Act,” also dubbed the “Sarah Grace-Farley-Kluger Act,” which would include “death of a child” to add for unpaid leave under the FMLA for up to 12 weeks.
“The FMLA currently mandates up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain family events, including the birth of a child, during which an employer cannot terminate an employee who qualifies for such leave,” Webster’s office noted.
“The death of a child is a loss like no other, yet our current laws leave no time for parents to grieve and begin the recovery process,” said Schneider. “I am proud to introduce this legislation making commonsense improvements to the Family and Medical Leave Act so employees can take the unpaid time off they need to care for their families and heal following such a tragic loss. I am particularly inspired by the families in whose memory this bill is named, who have turned the pain of the loss of a child into advocacy on behalf of other families facing the same unimaginable tragedy.”
The bill has three committee stops having been sent to the U.S. House Education and Labor, Oversight and Reform and the Administration Committees. So far, there is no version of the bill over in the U.S. Senate.