They Say The Fourth Time’s A Charm-The Farley-Kluger Initiative
Scottsdale has many meanings to me. It’s the city I relocated to in 1999 from New York. It’s also the city where my daughter died in a tragic car accident on Pima and Jomax Roads in 2001. One of my first instincts was to sell the house and run- away-quickly-from all of those memories. But then I realized, my daughter Erica and I had found this house on a trip to AZ in 1998. This house was her and for all its sadness, it also possessed an amazing beauty and sense of comfort.
After Erica’s death sunk in, I started to write articles about her, many on this site. In 2010, on the internet, I met a fellow grieving Dad, Kelly Farley of Illinois who lost two children. As we spoke, we realized that there were many parents who were fired from jobs because the standard 3-5 days bereavement leave was not enough. It was from this realization that The Farley-Kluger Initiative was born, to add loss of a child to the Family Medical Leave Act. Currently, if you have a child or adopt a child, you get up to 12 weeks unpaid. If you lose, a child, just 5 days to bury that child. It seemed cruel, heartless and just bad business for employers for the workers who give their lives and loyalty to a company.
Until now. After six years and three sessions of Congress, it looks like 2017 may very well be the year this happens.
Following an appearance on NBC12 here in Arizona, I ventured to DC for a press conference to announce a new, republican-backed bill to add child loss to the FMLA.
I’m a democrat but loss doesn’t only visit people of a certain party, culture, race or religion. It plays no favorites.
Rep.Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is
leading the charge, along with Republicans McSally (R-AZ), Comstock (R-AZ) and
three solid Democrats, Schneider (D-IL), Beyer (D-VA) and Suozzi (D-NY).
Washington seems to be working! No one can deny this is a good bill and the momentum finally seems to be moving and it is unstoppable.
My own Congressman, David Schweikert (R-AZ) has been silent. If he responded, I would tell him: This is not about money. This is not about government overreach. This is about valuing the workers of this country and Arizona who are loyal and just want time to grieve. And it costs employers nothing!
Over the next 22 months of this 115th session, this bill will be worked and promoted and it will get a floor vote and it will become law.
Former President Lyndon Johnson was
once told, in 1964, that pursuing a civil rights agenda may jeopardize his
chances for re-election. LBJ replied: "Well, what the Hell is the
And that is my question to the members of Congress who would stand in the way of this bill being written into our history: “Well, what the hell is holding public office for if not to advance the rights of all Americans?"
Readers interested in supporting this effort can go to the online petition, www.farleykluger.com or write the author, Barry Kluger at [email protected]