The Parental Bereavement Act is the latest in a series of proposed amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Act, as drafted, would permit an employee to take unpaid bereavement leave for the death of a child. This is just the latest change to the FMLA proposed in the last two years. Other proposals have included:
1. The Family Fairness Act (2009), which would remove the requirement that an employee perform 1,250 hours of work for an employer prior to becoming eligible for FMLA leave;
2. The FMLA Inclusion Act (2011), which would expand FMLA coverage to allow leave to care for same-sex partners, adult children, siblings, grandparents, and other more attenuated family relationships;
3. The Healthy Families Act (2011), which would require employers to provide 56 hours of paid sick leave per year;
4. The aptly-named Paid Vacation Act (2009), which would require employers to provide one workweek of paid vacation per year; and
5. The pièce de résistance, the Balancing Act of 2009, which incorporates all of the foregoing, plus expanding the FMLA to cover employers with 25 or more employees!
It is generally agreed that none of these bills–with the exception of the Parental Bereavement Act, is likely to have any success in the legislature. Either way, we’ll be sure to keep you posted as the effort to makeover the FMLA continues.