Baldwin Introduces Bill to Protect Grieving Parents from Job Loss

Parental Bereavement Act amends FMLA to allow time off for death of a child

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) to introduce legislation to protect grieving parents from losing their jobs in the event of their child’s death. 

The Parental Bereavement Act would amend the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to give parents up to 12 weeks of unpaid, but job-protected, time off of work to cope with the death of a child.

FMLA currently allows parents to take extended leave for the birth of a child, adoption, and to care for family members with serious health conditions.  The Senators’ bill ensures that death of a child is treated like these other life-altering events.

“No parent should ever have to face the fear of losing their job after the tragedy of losing a child,” said Baldwin. “This commonsense legislation will not heal all wounds, but will help provide parents some peace of mind as they recover from their loss.”

“The scariest thought for any parent is having to bury their child, and they shouldn’t face losing their livelihood on top of that,” Tester said.  “Updating the law to give parents time to grieve is long overdue, and we owe it to them to pass this bill.”

“On behalf of grieving parents, we thank the Senators 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.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 3,000 American children between the ages of one and 14 die suddenly each year from accidents.

The Parental Bereavement Act is also sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ed Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D–NY), Al Franken (D-MN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and is available online here.