Bereaved Fathers Petition U.S. Congress to Expand the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 to Include Death of a Child

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Kelly Farley and Barry Kluger, both who have lost children, have begun efforts to propose a bi-partisan amendment to the FMLA of 1993, to include the loss of a child as a covered condition. More than 7500 letters have been sent to members of Congress and The White House since the petition began five weeks ago. Messrs. Farley and Kluger will be scheduling meetings in early April to continue the move for this federal legislation..

“The loss of a child knows no gender or status, and its impact on parents is astounding. We believe that the current law is not responsive to this too-often occurrence."

The Farley-Kluger Amendment to the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993

Proposed Farley-Kluger Amendment Seeks to Broaden the 1993 Law to Deal with Tragic Life Event

More than 7500 letters sent in first five weeks, representing all 50 states

Kelly Farley, Founder of the Grieving Dads Project (http://www.GrievingDads.com) and Barry Kluger, author of “A Life Undone: A Father’s Journey Through Loss” (http://www.alifeundone.com), have proposed to the U.S. Congress an expansion of the current Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 to include ‘loss of a child’ as a qualified condition.

http://www.petition2congress.com/3937/modify-family-medical-leave-act-1993/

The Farley-Kluger Amendment is named after Katie (2004) and Noah (2006) Farley and Erica Kluger (2001), whose young lives were tragically cut short through illness (Farley) and an automobile accident (Kluger). Kelly Farley began the Grieving Dads Project (http://www.GrievingDads.com) as an online community for fathers who lost children to come together, share their experiences and support each other. Farley has spent the last year conducting workshops, interviewing grieving dads and bringing awareness to dads’ grief as part of this project. He is now writing a book about his and other grieving dads’ experiences. Barry Kluger (http://www.barrykluger.com) is a media executive, columnist and radio host who has written and lectured extensively about his loss. He published his first book on the tragedy, “A Life Undone: A Father’s Journey Through Loss” in May 2010. http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/2010/06/18/20100618scottsdale-kruger-life-undone.html)

Messrs. Farley and Kluger met after an online search for information and support led them to the same grief support organizations. There they discovered countless stories of loss from parents across the nation—and of unrealistic expectations from employers regarding time away from work to grieve.

Mr. Farley said: “Most businesses do care about their employees, and many work out ad hoc, informal arrangements with bereaved parents when tragedy strikes. However, given the lack of clarity in the 1993 law, this amendment to include loss of a child would simply add a new, very understandable and needed circumstance to the qualifying factors, which already include a child’s illness. This is a common-sense modification which will not adversely affect our business community. “

A national media campaign begins with today’s announcement as Messrs. Farley and Kluger push for a bi-partisan sponsorship of the measure.

“The loss of a child knows no gender or status, and its impact on parents is astounding,” Mr. Kluger said. “We believe that the current law is not responsive to this too-often occurrence. It does not recognize the enormous impact the loss of a child has on an individual, nor does it allow for a period of time away from work to mourn, grieve, and heal. This is both an affront and a tragedy to those who suffer.”

Mr. Kluger added: “We believe that in this pivotal time in our nation’s history, we must look to our legislative leaders to focus on what unites us, rather than separates us. We urge our leaders in Washington to address this issue and give those who are in pain the opportunity—and the time—to deal with their loss.” (http://www.empowher.com/community/share/father-s-day-dads-who-ve-lost-child-day-still-ours)

Mr. Farley added, “I learned from my own personal experience that the existing Family Medical Leave Act is not designed to help grieving parents. Many of the grieving dads I’ve spoken to through the Grieving Dads Project understandably experienced challenges with not only returning to work after the death of a child, but also being able to do their job once they returned (http://www.GrievingDads.wordpress.com). The typical 2-3 days of bereavement leave provided by most companies is simply not realistic. The Farley-Kluger Amendment will give all bereaved parents the option to take a leave of absence to begin the healing process without the additional concern of losing their job.”

Mr. Kluger agreed. “Losing a child requires focus on the often-long healing process. There are tens of thousands of parents like myself who lose their children to illness, accidents, suicide or murder, and it cannot be dealt with in a matter of days. It takes months, years and even decades for parents to recover, and by allowing these brave souls to have the time provided for them and protected under federal legislation is a moral imperative for our representatives in Washington. It is my sincere hope that the Farley-Kluger Amendment is adopted and that the healing process be allowed to begin, unencumbered.”

Scheduled Capitol Hill meetings will begin the first week in April.

Kelly D. Farley        (630-561-5989)     Kelly(at)Grievingdads(dot)com
Barry Kluger         (480-703-8135)    Barry(at)Barrykluger(dot)com

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