As per usual under Florida law, government employees are entitled to paid family leave following the birth of a child. However, State Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation), intends to extend the privileges of the current law to those who birth a still-born child.
Under Senate Bill 1368, Book will extend these rights to stillborn parents, in response to the case of a Washington D.C. public school teacher, Elizabth O’Donnell.
O’Donnell, a first grade math and science teacher, was denied family leave following the unfortunate stillbirth of her daughter last month by the District of Columbia Public Schools.
In response, Book has stated, “Paid family leave is critical for ALL mothers, regardless of the circumstances of their child’s birth.”
Book says that the ” bill will ensure mothers of stillborn children receive paid family leave if they are employed by the State of Florida.”
For Book, this is a personal fight, as she herself was fortunate enough to have given birth to two children. Book added from her own experience that, “If you have given birth, you deserve time to heal.” And promises that, “We are going to protect that for State employees.”
In all, SB 1368 is well intentioned, but it is hard to say whether this bill can survive a Republican-led Florida legislature. Until Book can produce data and funds, this bill could very well remain stagnant, or die. Nevertheless, her efforts behind SB 1368 compliment the agenda she was elected upon very well.