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A Dad’s Fight: More Time Off For Grieving Parents

Barry Kluger and his daughter Erica, who died in a car crash at age 18. (Courtesy: Barry Kluger)

Barry Kluger and his daughter Erica, who died in a car crash at age 18. (Courtesy: Barry Kluger)

Barry Kluger knows the ins and outs of the Family and Medical Leave Act for a sad reason. His 18-year-old daughter Erica was killed in a car accident in 2001.

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is the law that allows people to take up to 12 weeks off of work for the birth of a child or to care for a sick loved one.

It does not cover leave for bereavement.

Kluger is now head of the MISS Foundation, a resource for grieving families. The nonprofit says most companies provide for employees to take three to five days off after the death of a child, before returning to work.

Having experienced the loss of a child, Kluger set out to change the FMLA to allow parents to take up to 12 weeks off from work.

The Farley-Kluger Initiative has introduced this legislation on Capitol Hill several times before, but Kluger believes that this year, it will pass. The other half of the Farley-Kluger Initiative is Kelly Farley of the Grieving Dads Project.

Kluger told Here & Now the Parental Bereavement Act of 2013 has nine co-sponsors in the Senate and 23 co-sponsors in the House.

Among the supporters of the initiative’s measure is John McLaughlin, who lost one of his twin daughters in a car crash in 1997.

Guest:

  • John McLaughlin, lost one of his twin daughters in a car crash.
  • Barry Kluger, president of the MISS Foundation. His daughter Erica died in a car crash at age 18.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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