Lauren Book to Ensure Paid Leave in Cases of Stillbirth

Lauren Book to Ensure Paid Leave in Cases of Stillbirth

Lauren Book sticks to prioritizing families

Jim McCool
Jim McCool
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September 29, 2021

Although Florida has been in the national spotlight for COVID-19 and revolutionary school policies, Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book (D-32) has filed important legislation to ensure paid leave for parents of stillborn children.

Some would argue that having a stillborn child does not even constitute the mother and father as parents at all.  However, Senator Book intends to fight for these cases as thoroughly as she has for any other Florida family with SB 376.

Book filed this bill in response to the case of a Washington D.C. public school teacher who was denied paid leave following the stillbirth of her daughter earlier this year.

District of Columbia Public Schools denied first grade math and science teacher Elizabeth O’Donnell paid family leave earlier this year because she could not provide a birth certificate for her stillborn daughter, Aaliyah, delivered at seven months. Despite explanation of the circumstances and documentation – including a death certificate – O’Donnell was denied paid leave and told that her stillbirth did not qualify.

Under current Florida law, all state employees are entitled to paid family leave following the birth of a child. Book’s bill will protect this right in cases where a child is stillborn.  Book has since publicly elaborated on her support for the mothers of stillborn children:

“Paid family leave is critical for ALL mothers, regardless of the circumstances of their child’s birth.  If you have given birth, you deserve time to heal. We are going to protect that for state employees.”

“This bill will ensure mothers of stillborn children receive paid family leave if they are employed by the State of Florida,” says Book. “It’s a lot to go through. Let’s make this easier, not harder.”

Jim McCool

Jim McCool

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