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L.I. Congressman Calls For Parental Bereavement To Be Added To Family And Medical Leave Act

Matthew and Marissa Weippert (credit: CBS 2)

Matthew and Marissa Weippert (credit: CBS 2)

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HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A lawmaker from Long Island has proposed what he calls a common sense addition to the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Congressman Steve Israel wants 12 weeks of paid leave for parents coping with the death of a child, which is currently not covered under the 1993 law.

Matthew and Marissa Weippert said they are lending their daughter’s name to Israel’s bill, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday.

The Sarah Grace Act would allow grieving parents time off without fear of losing their jobs.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reports

Matthew Weippert lost his 12-year-old daughter Sarah to leukemia nearly a decade ago.

“Sarah was buried on a Wednesday and I went back to work on Monday,” Weippert told WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs.

A petition calling for parental bereavement leave has garnered more than 40,000 signatures to urge Congress to act.

Other life-shaping events like the birth or adoption of a child are covered with 12 weeks of paid leave. Caring for a sick family member is also covered under the law.

“How great it would have been if I was able to take that extended time that we could try quietly, as a family, to rebuild our lives,” Weippert said. “Sarah passed almost 10 years ago and still it is somewhat of a daily struggle.”

“There were days when for no reason I would just start  crying,” Weippert told Gusoff.

“It was heartbreaking. I can’t say any more,” Marissa Weippert told Gusoff.

“It is hard enough to lose a child. It borders on cruel to have to go back to work immediately after the loss of a child,” Rep. Israel said.

The company Matthew Weippert works for, Quality Metal Stamping, did not wish to comment on the proposed change in law.

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