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Spouse Bereavement Leave (Initiative to Amend the FMLA)

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To whom it may concern:

My name is Melinda, I am 31 years old, and widowed.

On 7/27/2010, my husband of 10 years, ended his life. I was 29 years old at the time. With one pull of a trigger, my world, soul, heart and whole life shattered into a billion pieces at my feet.

I was notified by my employer that I had 3 days of bereavement I could take. I was also notified that my situation did not fall under FMLA laws or regulations.

I was further notified that I would need to return to work within 3 business days. Within those 3 business days, I was not able to completely plan my husband?s funeral, let alone grieve.

I was forced to go back to work the day after I buried my husband. I couldn?t sleep, eat, or even drive...yet I had to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day and manage 70 employees, while trying to hold myself together.

I was unsuccessful of holding myself together at work. Most days following my return to work, I left work after working a few hours, in a panic and complete and utter physical pain.

The FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:

* for the birth and care of a newborn child
* for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
* to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition;
* to take medical leave because of a serious health condition; or
* to care for an injured service member in the family

Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

It is my opinion that the death of a spouse is one of the worst experiences that anyone can endure. Statistics show that the worst loss someone can face is losing a child. The second worse loss is losing a spouse.
The American Psychological Association has ranked the death of a suicide as a catastrophic stressor, on par with surviving a concentration camp experience.

Statistics also show that losing a spouse while in your early 30?s puts you at a 30% suicide chance of taking your own life. They further show that losing someone very close to you by suicide raises your suicide chance by 30%. You add the numbers together, and I, at the time, had a 60% chance of taking my own life.

Yet, I had to keep working. I didn?t have ?time? to grieve. I couldn?t take the time I needed to heal, if even a little bit, before returning to work.

I see that congress is currently being petitioned to allow FMLA leave for the death of a child.

I am petitioning that congress allow FMLA leave to grieve the loss of a spouse.

I believe that losing your whole world, life and dreams in one split second should allow you to take

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2,874 Public Comments So Far

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February 15, 2017
Elizabeth B. from New Castle, DE writes:
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My name is Mrs Elizabeth Barben and lost my husband of 20 years in January 2017. This is the most difficult thing I have ever dealt with in my lifetime of 49 years. I have lost my father and grandparents but losing my husband is the absolute most difficult death I am dealing with. We have 5 children and 3 grandchildren and only having 5 days of bereavement was far from enough time. We were together for more than 26 years and nobody can understand unless they, God forbid, have gone through grieving the loss of their spouse. It is only common sense to to include the loss of a spouse as being covered under the FMLA Sincerely, Still Grieving
February 9, 2017
Someone from Kiel, WI writes:
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I lost my husband of 30 years on 11/15/16. I have now experienced both the loss of a child and a spouse. I speak from experience that both are the most significant losses one can imagine. I believe that FMLA should absolutely include the need for leave in both these circumstances. I have also experienced the loss of parents and siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. While the latter losses are significant and devastating, the loss of a spouse or a child is uniquely different from the others in the depth of grief and the necessity for a longer grieving and coping process.
September 14, 2016
Someone from Saint Ansgar, IA writes:
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I lost my husband to pancreatic cancer. I am 57 years old. He had just had his 61st birthday. We have 3 sons 23,19 and 16. I feel like I am being ripped into a million pieces. I have so many things that need to be done and literally no time to do them because I have used up all my time off. I am exhausted. I called in sick last week, knowing it would be an unpaid day. In my next paycheck I received a warning concerning my attendance. My grief is unbearable, and my load so heavy. I have until the end of the year to finish up so many things. Without time off I will not accomplish the things that must get done.
6 months ago
Someone from New Smyrna Beach, FL signed.
August 11, 2016
Someone from Windham, OH signed.
July 14, 2016
Someone from Memphis, TN signed.
July 1, 2016
Someone from Boulder Creek, CA signed.
July 1, 2016
Someone from Harrison City, PA writes:
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I lost my husband one month ago. My grief is overwelming. This should be covered under the FMLA.
June 28, 2016
Someone from Hesperia, CA signed.
8 months ago
Someone from Summerfield, FL signed.