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Grief and Loss Community
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Extend the FMLA to Include Loss of a Child

There is no loss greater than the loss of a child. Words cannot express the depth of sorrow you feel. Some companies allow 3 days bereavement, some companies are more generous in this situation, but most, unfortunately, are not. Expecting parents to come back to work within a week and "be normal" not only shows a lack of compassion, but a lack of empathy.
–Brenda S. from Alexandria, VA

As a bereaved parent I cannot believe this isn't already in place. Losing a child, toddler, teen or adult makes no difference to the trauma the parents go through. There is no loss like it. We are kinder to animals than to our fellow man.
–Michele H. from Alden, NY

These are just a few of the many comments that have been made by parents who have suffered the tragic loss of a child and then not been given adequate time off of work to mourn their loss.

Currently the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits workers, in companies with 50 or more employees, to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to help care for a sick immediate family member. Surprisingly, the FMLA does not cover the death of a child. As a result, some bereaved moms and dads have had to make the difficult decision as to whether to spend time away from their companies and risk losing their jobs or return to work long before they are ready.

Two grieving fathers, Barry Kluger and Kelly Farley, have started a petition to get the law changed and in just one year, went from 1,000 to 34,000 petitions to Congress  and in Fall 2011, Sen. Jon Tester, inspired by The Farley-Kluger Amendment (www.farleykluger.com), introduced the Parental Bereavement Act of 2011 which is currently in a U.S. Senate Committee. The week of March 19, Messrs. Kluger and Farley travel to DC for over 20 Hill meetings with various Senators and Congresspersons, in their effort to get a companion House Bill introduced. We are asking you to join with us in supporting a proposed amendment to FMLA that would allow unpaid leave time of up to 12 weeks for families who have lost a child.

You can help! It’s simple and will only take a few minutes of your time. Just go to www.************.com to sign the petition. It would also help if you make a comment about this amendment being particularly as parents and health care professionals. After you sign the petition, you will be given the option to send an email to your representatives in Congress to support the Farley-Kluger Amendment and this change to FMLA.

Perhaps these words from Kathleen, a Gold Star military mother from Mashpee, MA say it best:

My son’s re-deployment to Heaven on Sept. 24th 2010 was and still is the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life. The pain never goes away but through time we as parents figure out what our new normal is going to be. Life as we knew it will forever be changed. I support this bill 100%....

3 Responses
Avatar universal
Surprised to read that it doesn't cover the death of a child. Thanks for the info. And very sorry that you lost your Son, but Heaven is real as you know, so you will see him again... your separation is only temporary..
Avatar universal
Losing a child is the worst loss ever.  It's a million time harder than any parent can imagine.  It's not a loss where time eases the pain, and although kind words are nice, knowing we will see our child again brings little comfort.  I lost a son and a grandson.....I fully support this bill.
Avatar universal
Thanks, Mammo. I am sorry for your loss. We are gaining traction on our Initiative and are planning a rally in DC in July. Thanks for signing and pass the link on to others.-Barry Kluger
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