Villa pushes for legislation to support grieving families

SPRINGFIELD – To help support families grieving the loss of a child, State Senator Karina Villa advanced legislation from the Senate Labor Committee that will create the Zachary’s Parent Protection Act.

“No family should have to endure the loss of a child, and my heart goes out to all of those who have ever grieved over the unthinkable happening,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “This legislation attempts to offer support to families who are grieving by allowing them the proper time to themselves after a loss.”

This bill was inspired when mother Laura Kane lost her son to suicide, yet she was expected to return to work merely three days later. Kane was let go due to not being able to perform her job while grieving the loss of her child. She started a non-profit, Marshmallow’s Hope, in honor of her son and to help children struggling with depression and families struggling with the loss of a child due to suicide.

Senate Bill 2034 provides extended bereavement leave to employees who have lost a child to suicide or homicide: up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for larger businesses with at least 250 workers and six weeks unpaid leave for smaller businesses with fewer than 250.

“The loss of a child is terrible, and families need time to work through that loss,” Villa said. “This bill addresses loss to homicide or suicide. If you or someone you know might be suffering from suicidal thoughts, you can call the suicide and crisis lifeline by dialing 988.”

Senate Bill 2034 awaits further consideration.