Webster-backed bill aimed at helping working parents who lose a child

Congressman Daniel Webster

Congressman Daniel Webster has joined with four other representatives to sponsor bipartisan legislation aimed at families grieving the loss of a child.

HR 983, also known as the Parental Bereavement Act of 2019 or the Sarah Grace-Farley-Kluger Act, also includes the support of Brad Schneider (D-IL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Don Beyer (D-VA), Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Paul Cook (R-CA). The legislation is designed to provide time off from work for families grieving the loss of a child.

“Family and life are some of our most precious gifts,” said Webster, a Republican who represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives. “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.”

The legislation 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 26thanniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was signed into law on Feb. 5, 1993.

“No parent should be denied the right or opportunity to grieve for their child. Many parents who experience this sort of tragedy may never recover,” said Suozzi. “It is time to pass this common-sense legislation, which will allow families the time off from work they need to recover following a devastating loss. I am especially passionate about this bill, because it is named after the child of my constituents, who since losing their daughter to cancer, have worked so hard to ensure that other parents are able to properly cope with the same tragedy.”

The legislation also 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; and Star Legacy Foundation.

Read the full text of the legislation by clicking HERE.