What is the Parental Bereavement Act? As a supervisor, you’re already familiar with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides eligible workers in specific situations with up to 12 weeks of protected unpaid leave and continuation of health insurance coverage. For example, FMLA protects employees caring for a newborn or bonding with an adopted child.
The Parental Bereavement Act, introduced in 2011 and still in committee, would expand FMLA by providing protection for parents grieving the loss of a child. Montana Senator Jon Tester, who introduced the bill, said in a press release, “When the unthinkable happens to parents, the last thing they should be worrying about is whether they’ll lose their jobs as they deal with life-changing loss.”
Employers and employees need to be aware of one key difference between a parental bereavement leave and other FMLA-protected leaves. This amendment, like the original legislation, would give eligible workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the 12-month period following a child’s death. However, unlike standard FMLA leave, the Parental Bereavement Act dictates that the leave must be taken in a single block of time unless the employer specifically authorizes intermittent leave.
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Like the rest of FMLA guidelines, the Parental Bereavement Act only applies to companies with 50 or more employees.
Stay tuned as this piece of employment legislation works through Congress.
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