Sunday, February 21, 2016

FMLA Program for Bereaved Parents and more

Since 2011, Barry Kluger, and his good friend Kelley Farley, both bereaved parents, have been working on legislation that would grant grieving parents extended leave from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Both parents lost their 18 year old daughters just four months apart in car accidents in 2001.

Kluger says that many parents are being forced back to work within days of the death of their child. These two parents want to do something about it. They feel it is unjust that bereaved parents do not qualify for this program. 

Under the FMLA program, eligible workers receive up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave a year. FMLA requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave as if employees continued to work instead of taking leave. Employees are also entitled to return to their same or an equivalent job at the end of their leave. Bereaved parents are not eligible for FMLA benefits and that is what these two men are trying to change.

Kluger knows this is an uphill battle, but he continues to contact and seek support from U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives. He has a deep commitment to see this through. Both Kluger and Farley plan to travel to Washington, D.C. in March to speak in support of the Sarah Grace-Farley-Kluger Act. If you feel as strongly as they do, contact your local congress representative and senator and have them support HR2260 and S1302. To find your local representatives, visit

Executive Director of Compassionate Friends, Alan Pedersen, says of Kluger, “I know the action he has taken to try and make it happen has brought healing and hope into his life…and that should be inspiring to all of us.”
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In other information dealing with Compassionate Friends, TCF offers “virtual chapters” through an Online Support Community through live chats. This program was established to encourage connecting and sharing among parents, grandparents, and siblings ove the age of 18, grieving the death of a child. The rooms supply support, encouragement and friendship. The friendly atmosphere encourages conversation among friends: friends who understand the emotions you’re experiencing. There are general bereavement sessions as well as more specific sessions. Contact for additional information.

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Cookouts, parades and family gatherings across America on Memorial Day will highlight a weekend of connection and inspiration at the 22nd National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp May 27-30 in Arlington, Virginia. Speakers, sharing groups and a variety of workshops to provide tools and resources for navigating your grief journey and honoring your loved ones. Coping skills for children and teens are available at the Grief Camp. Visit to register.

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