FMLA Insights: Parental Bereavement Act Would Amend FMLA to Provide Leave Upon Death of a Child

Earlier this month, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced the Parental Bereavement Act (S. 1358), which would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide job-protected leave due to the death of an employee’s son or daughter. In a press release, Sen. Tester said he introduced the bill because the “last thing [parents] should be worrying about is whether they’ll lose their jobs as they deal with life-changing loss.” The Act would allow leave “because of the death of a son or daughter,” and it assumes leave would be taken in one block. Like bonding leave, bereavement leave could be taken intermittently only if the employer agrees. Like the FMLA itself, the bill would apply only to employers of 50 or more employees.

Although the Parental Bereavement Act currently has no co-sponsors, it likely has a better chance of passage than the recently-introduced FMLA Inclusion Act (H.R. 2364, S. 1283), which would provide unpaid leave to care for a same-sex spouse or partner, parent-in-law, adult child, sibling, grandchild or grandparent. The latter bill, which has been introduced in Congress several times before, likely would not enjoy the support of a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, even if it were to pass the Senate.

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