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Proposed bill seeks to give more parents time off to grieve

July 27, 2012
Proposed bill seeks to give more parents time off to grieve
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A recent CNN article explains the grief journey of Barry Kluger who lost his daughter to an automobile accident when she was 18. Unfortunately, parts of his journey are all too familiar for those that have lost a child; and for those still younger that have lost a parent or a sibling. Now, there is something we all can do to help change the journey.

Kluger, struggling and dealing with his own grief, was able to take as much time away from work as he needed having owned his own business. However, most are not afforded the same opportunity. According to Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, a researcher at ArizonaStateUniversity and the founder of the MISS Foundation, the average bereavement leave for a person who loses a child is three days. Three days!

Given this, in January 2011, Kluger partnered with another grieving father, Kelly Farley, to draft a proposed amendment to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Then, in summer 2011, Sen. John Tester (D-Montana) proposed the Parental Bereavement Act, to incorporate extended, job-protected leave for the loss of a child.

Cacciatore tells CNN that while a person can take extra time off for mental health reasons, such as grieving, it creates an ethical dilemma. If someone needs to mourn, having to declare depression for time off work is an unnecessary label that could also affect future employment opportunities.

Researchers at the Grief Recovery Institute, a nonprofit foundation, measured how situations like death affect U.S. businesses. According to Russell Friedman, executive director of the institute, he tells CNN that the current estimated annual loss due to reduced productivity as an effect of grief is around $225 billion.

Work to make a difference. Please sign the petition. It takes only a few clicks to lend your voice to a change that can impact millions.

Would you like to share your story? Please contact us at [email protected]

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