Networks

Ex-MTV Exec Wants Parents To Have Time To Grieve

Barry Kluger Again Seeks Congress' Support For Parental Bereavement Act 1/10/2013 6:02 AM Eastern

The Newtown, Conn., elementary-school shootings on Dec. 14 that killed 20 young children and six adults may inspire tougher gun-control laws.

Barry Kluger hopes lawmakers also help working parents take the time necessary to grieve for a lost child.

In 2001, after his 18-year-old daughter, Erica, was killed in a car accident, the former MTV Networks executive was able to take personal time off to seek support.

Many parents, though, feel pressure to go back to work in two or three days, before they are emotionally ready.

To help them, Kluger and another grieving father, Kelly Farley, in 2011 drafted an amendment to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to give parents the same right to 12 weeks’ unpaid leave the law provides to have or adopt a child — but not to bury one.

Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, sponsored the Parental Bereavement Act in 2011 to amend the law. It had five co-sponsors, and more than 42,000 have signed a petition of support.

Kluger and Farley have scheduled 20 meetings with legislators for early February. “The bill was going to be introduced anyway,” Kluger said. “This may lead it to be fast-tracked and get a lot more attention.”

The hope is that legislation will be introduced in both the Senate and the House on Feb. 5, marking the 20th anniversary of the 1993 law.

It’s something Kluger and Farley hope will happen — and now do so on behalf of “40 more parents who unfortunately have joined the club.”

(Revised from Through the Wire, Jan. 7, 2013.)

September