Grieving father's effort to help parents dealing with the loss of a childPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- A Scottsdale man is behind the effort to convince Congress to amend the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 to include protection for people suffering from the loss of a child.
Barry Kluger's eighteen-year-old daughter, Erica, was killed in a car accident in 2001. As a result of that tragic loss, Kluger became an advocate for people dealing with grief.
In 2010, Kluger published his first book, "A Life Undone: A Father's Journey," the non-fiction memoir about his daughter and how men deal with the grieving process.
That same year, Kluger met a fellow grieving parent, Kelly Farley, of Aurora, Ill., who lost two children.
As the two men got to know each other, they learned about parents getting fired from their jobs while grieving over the death of a child.
"Let go because they took off too much time after loss of a child or they couldn't concentrate at work and we saw all these instances went to research the Family Medical Leave Act and bottom line, sounds dramatic, you get 12 weeks off unpaid to have a child, you get two to three days to bury that child," explained Kluger.
Kluger and Kelly drafted an initiative that would extend coverage allowed by the FMLA to employees that have experienced the death of a child.
Kluger said 40,000 people have signed the petition for the Farley-Kluger Initiative.
The Parental Bereavement Act of 2011was introduced in the Senate in 2011. Election year politics prevented the bill from moving through Congress, according to Kluger.
"We're going to work on 2013. We have a rally planned in Washington February 5th, 2013," said Kluger. That is the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Family Medical Leave Act. "We're hoping this article in USA Today...will be read in Washington, which I know it is and it'll get people to move to action."