Beyer Joins Bill to Expand Family Leave Act to Cover Loss of a Child

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Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is among the sponsors of a bipartisan bill that would help families grieving the loss of a child take time off work.

“Expanding the FMLA to include parental bereavement is the most compassionate action we can take to do something, no matter how small, to help bereaved families,” Beyer said. “This legislation is a good start to make a positive change and I’m proud to support it.”

Today, U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Don Beyer (D-VA), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Paul Cook (R-CA)  introduced bipartisan legislation to help families grieving the loss of a child take time off work.

H.R. 983, the “Parental Bereavement Act of 2019” or the “Sarah Grace-Farley-Kluger Act” 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 mourn a child’s loss and then return to work. 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.

The legislation was introduced this week marking the 26th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was signed into law on February 5, 1993.

Other sponsors include Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Paul Cook (R-CA).

Endorsed by family groups

The legislation is endorsed by The Farley-Kluger Initiative—a movement which began in 2011 to amend FMLA to include parental bereavement.

“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.”

In addition, the bill is supported by national organizations including:

  • Children’s Bereavement Center
  • Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation
  • First Candle
  • JED Foundation
  • MISS Foundation
  • National Military Families Association
  • Polly Klaas Foundation
  • Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance
  • Share Pregnancy
  • Star Legacy Foundation

Full text of the legislation is available online.