Representatives Introduce Bill to Amend the FMLA to Require Child Bereavement Leave

On March 16, 2017, a bipartisan group of Representatives, including Paul Gosar(R-AZ), Don Beyer(D-VA), Barbara Comstock(R-VA), Martha McSally(R-AZ), Brad Schneider(D-IL), and Thomas Suozzi(D-NY) introduced a bill (H.R. 1560) that would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to allow parents of up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for the death of a child.  Currently, only 60% of private-sector workers in the U.S. are provided with paid time off after the death of a loved one, and usually that is only for a few days. 

The current FMLA law allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks off per year for the following:

·         The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth

·         The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement

·         To care for an employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition

·         A serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform essential duties of the job

·         Or for any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on active duty, or;

·         Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin.



There have been similar bills introduced in recent years without success, however the Representatives believe this bill has a better chance of advancing due to the bipartisan support.  There are 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats as sponsors of the bill.  However in the Senate, there are 12 Democrats and 1 Independent sponsoring the bill known as the Parental Bereavement Act of 2017.  Senator Jon Tester(D-MT) introduced the bill (S. 528) in the Senate on March 6, 2017.

Continue to follow us at myHRcounsel for the latest on the bill.  If passed, please contact us for support in implementing policy for the FMLA amendment.