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Support sought for bills expanding Family Medical Leave Act

Posted: June 16, 2013 - 12:03am  |  Updated: June 16, 2013 - 1:11am

Editor:

As part of my voice to help other bereaved parents that will follow in my footsteps, I have joined fellow grieving dads Kelly Farley and Barry Kluger to assist them with bringing awareness to the Farley-Kluger Initiative (www.FarleyKluger.com). Over 61,000 petitions have already been sent to Washington, D.C.; many of these petitions have been signed by residents of Georgia.

Currently, there are two federal bills (The Parental Bereavement Act of 2013) sitting in the House of Representatives (HR515) and the Senate (S226) that propose expanding the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 to include the death of a child as a covered condition. Right now, you receive up to 12 weeks unpaid leave if you have a child, adopt a child, care for a sick family member, you are ill or you are caring for an injured service member. If your child dies, most companies grant three to five days bereavement leave.

Sadly, there is no political support from Georgia representatives or senators in Washington on this issue. As Georgians, I know we can do better. I know compassion isn’t a thing of the past. This issue shouldn’t be caught up in Washington politics. It’s a common sense change since no parent is sheltered from the death of a child and those affected are Democrats, Republicans, rich, poor, as well as all cultural and religious backgrounds.

I think we can all agree that no one wants more government in their lives, but we want the businesses that rely on those who have lost a child to recognize that the best assets of a company walk out the door at the end of the workday. They are what makes the economy move along. They have given their employers loyalty, dedication and productivity, but in the eyes of some companies the death of a child makes them ‘‘expendable” if they are unable to return to work the day after burying their child.

I cannot begin to imagine why anyone would not want to extend a compassionate hand to those who have lost a child. Have we really become a country that is focused more on the bottom line than helping our neighbors through difficult times.

 

Patrick D. Moorehead,

Harlem

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Comments (3)

soapy_725

Who decides when the grieving is over?

Yes compassion. Legislate compassion no. You cannot legislate morality. Where would this end in our current society? Who decides to include long time family pets?

This is something that should be worked out between an employer and employee. Unpaid leave. Temporary disability if the person cannot function.

Sometimes, returning to work is an excellent solace to the grieving. Getting out of one's self is a proven treatment.

Grieving for a lost loved one never really ends. You adjust to life.

nolittlefeet

Seems like common sense.

I am a Dad, celebrating this Father's Day even though my son is no longer here with us. For people like me, who have been struck by infant death in some form or another, this bill sounds like a fantastic way to protect workers and their positions.

I know that in those first couple of months after he died I was near useless on the job. Luckily (very luckily) for me, I also worked with others who had lost children, and they were as caring and supportive as they could be in the work environment. Any other company, and I probably would have been fired because my productivity dove so severely.
Simply having the option to take time off after his death, (when I was still launched into long jags of crying every day by the tiniest of things), would have been a god send.

I had to take time off of work every time we were sent to the funeral home, or back to the hospital for documents, or planning his funeral, and on the day of the funeral itself. It would have been much more helpful if I hadn't had to work in between all of that. Even driving was dangerous for me at that time, I was so completely out of it.

I digress. I feel as if having this option available will help so many people, and I'm glad to finally see it getting so much attention.

Losing a child (which is what this article is about), is the worst thing that anyone can possibly emotionally experience within the scope of their lifetime.

It's easy to spot those who have lost a child, versus the ones who haven't, because the ones who haven't have no concept of how devastating the loss is, or how it's so vastly different from other forms of bereavement.

( The poster above shows this by suggesting that next people will be wanting time off for their pets. Comparing the two is absurd and highly offensive. God forbid that person ever comes across a grieving parent in their lifetime, or even worse, becomes one. -Something tells me they would do a great disservice to the community of bereaved parents at large. )

If I ever get a chance to vote on this, I will support this bill as much as I humanly can. I applaud the men who are trying to get the word out there that bereaved parents need structured time off to grieve their children while the pain is still blazingly fresh.

Grieving your child will never ever end. It is a lifetime of learning to take the waves of grief as they come, and trying to find your "new normal". But to give people the option to take some time off during those first couple of months is an undertaking that should be greatly encouraged.

Us parents grieve for a lifetime, that much is painfully obvious. Having the government acknowledge our grief in this way, and offer us SOME time to get our heads on straight after we lose our children is one of the best things I can think of.

It's just a piece of common sense that is long overdue.

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