It’s been 8 months since fellow grieving dad Barry Kluger and myself launched the Farley-Kluger Petition to amend the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 to include the death of a child. With over 12,000 signatures from all 50 states and support from many grieving parents and others that believe that it’s the right thing to do.
In July, Senator Jon Tester (MT) introduced S1358, the Parental Bereavement Leave Act of 2011. His staff members explained to us that the proposed legislation is a direct result of our efforts. As they explained in a recent phone conversation, Sen. Tester felt compelled to respond to Montanans who have suffered the loss of a child and petitioned him to do what he can.
We are traveling to DC the week of September 12 and have already confirmed several meetings with Senators and Representatives to encourage them to support Senator Tester’s bill. I encourage all of you to reach out to your Senators and Representatives to let them know how you feel about the importance of this bill.
I know there are many opinions on this bill and the issue with “more government” involvement. All this bill will do is allow any bereaved parent to take the 12 weeks of unpaid leave allowed under the FMLA without fear of losing their job. It’s not mandatory/required that you take the time. Some will need it while others want to go back to work right a way to get their mind off of it. There is no right answer, but to have the option to take the time is needed.
This is one way I have chosen to provide support for future grieving parents. Thanks for all of your support. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without everyone’s involvement.