Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) signed on to legislation to help parents mourning the death of their child by making them eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of job-protected time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Currently, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows parents to take extended, unpaid time off to care for newborn babies, adopted children, and family members with serious health conditions.
The Parental Bereavement Act, originally introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), would ensure that parents are allowed to take time to grieve following the death of a child.
"As a parent, I cannot imagine anything more devastating than the death of a child," said Sen. Franken. "Making sure that mourning parents have time to grieve and a job to return to is simply the right and compassionate thing to do. I will be working very hard to make sure we pass this bill in the Senate."
Research shows that most parents remain affected by the loss of a child for months after a child's death. Parents are also less productive if they return to work too soon.
The Parental Bereavement Act would not affect businesses with fewer than 50 employees.