Strides Being Made to Include Bereavement Leave in FMLA

We have previously written about the Family Medical Leave Act and the vast importance of the law as it pertains to employee rights. When an employee is faced with extreme or extenuating situations that relate to medical conditions or family circumstances, the FMLA obligates employers to give the worker time off.

However, there are some new efforts to improve and expand the 1993 law, especially concerning a particularly tragic situation: living in the wake of losing a son or daughter.

The pain a parent feels after losing one of their children is unimaginable, and they can go through severe (yet understandable) mood swings. They can suffer from depression. These grieving parents need time to recover from such a traumatic event.

Well, while the FMLA protects employee's rights, this is one area where it is sorely lacking -- and a new bill is being introduced by a man who unfortunately knows from experience how deflating it is to lose a child. The bill would add bereavement leave to the FMLA for employees who are dealing with the death of one of their children.

The man who has been driving the effort talked about wild swings in his character that had a direct impact on his ability to work. Sometimes he just would not go to work; sometimes he would become very depressed in an instant; but in every case, he should not have been back at his job. He should have had the time off to properly recover from the painful experience.

At the same time, an employee in such a situation needs the guarantees granted by the FMLA, which protects employees who use FMLA leave from retaliatory or disruptive efforts by their employer to force the individual back to work.

Source: Plainview Patch, "Ex-Plainview Man Fighting for Bereavement Leave," Joe Dowd, Jan. 16, 2013