U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) took action to ensure that grieving families would have the resources that they need when dealing with the life-changing event of a death in the family.
McSally introduced the bipartisan Sarah Grace-Farley-Kluger Act that allows bereaved parents a stay of leave while they mourn the loss of a child.
“Parents coming to grips with the loss of a child should not have to worry about anything other than taking care of themselves and their loved ones,” Senator McSally said. “It is critically important to ensuring mourning parents have the peace of mind to be able to take the time they need while going through the grieving process.”
“While carrying the burden of their child’s death, grieving parents shouldn’t be worried that they will lose their jobs too,” Senator Tester said. “This bipartisan bill will update the law to give parents time to grieve and recover from their loss, while protecting their financial livelihood.”
The legislation adds the death of a child as a life event that would qualify for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and will allow a grieving parent up to 12 weeks to mourn a child’s loss before returning 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. This month marks the 26th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The legislation is endorsed by The Farley-Kluger Initiative—a movement which began in 2011 to amend FMLA to include parental bereavement. Mr. Kluger’s daughter died in Scottsdale in 2001. Mr. Kluger started the movement with a fellow grieving father, Kelly Farley, after hearing stories from grieving parents who’d lost their jobs after the deaths of the children because they’d only been granted three to five days of leave. Kluger and Farley have been seeking to change this oversight since 2011.
“For the first time since we began to push for change in the FMLA, there is a truly bipartisan bill in both the Senate and the House,” Barry Kluger and Kelly Farley, the authors of The Farley-Kluger Initiative said. “We are grateful to Sens. McSally and Tester for their unwavering support and on behalf of grieving parents, and in memory of Noah and Katie Farley and Erica Kluger, we thank the sponsors of this bill. Their compassion and common sense approach to American workers who suffer the loss of a child 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.”
McSally introduced the bipartisan legislation alongside U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Chris Coons (D-DE).