Tuesday, May 03, 2016 02:22 PM
SPRINGFIELD— A parent whose child has a serious medical condition can receive time off from work under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, that same parent would not be allowed under FMLA to take time off for the death of a child.
In fact, the average bereavement leave for a person who loses a child is three days according to a researcher at Arizona State University.
Today, State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed legislation out of the Illinois Senate guaranteeing parents who lose a child time off work to grieve.
“My plan is about having compassion for a parent who is going through a terrible tragedy,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is important that a parent who loses a child is guaranteed time off work to mourn.”
Under FMLA, employees are entitled to up to three months a year of unpaid leave for the birth of the child, adoption or to care for themselves or a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition.
Bertino-Tarrant’s proposal, Senate Bill 2613, expands FMLA coverage by ensuring that employees who lose a child will be provided with two weeks of unpaid bereavement leave. This time can be used to make arrangements, attend the funeral and grieve their child’s death.
If signed into law, Illinois would join Oregon as the only states to mandate that employers are required to provide leave to employees who request it after the death of a child.
FMLA applies to all state, local and federal employers as well as schools and private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in a year.
To qualify for FMLA leave, an employee must have worked for their employer for one year and worked at least 1,250 hours.
Bertino-Tarrant’s proposal now advances to the Illinois House for consideration.
Listen to Sen. Bertino-Tarrant during debate: