The Oregon House passed a bill that would give workers up to two weeks unpaid time off to grieve the death of a family member.

Supporters of the bill gave poignant testimony to the Business and Labor Committee during a public hearing in March. State Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-East Portland/Clackamas) was among those who shared a personal story of the challenges faced in a former job because of missed work days following the loss of a loved one.

“As you can imagine, I was devastated (after my father died),” Fagan said on the House Floor on Friday. “I left work for a week and traveled to The Dalles to grieve and plan his memorial service. When I returned to work for a large company and a good company, I was terminated.”

House Bill 2950-A, which passed the House by a 40-18 vote on April 12 and heads to the Senate, adds “death of a family member” to the 1995 Oregon Family Leave Act, which requires businesses with 25 or more employees to give workers job-protected time off in the cases of illness, injury, child birth or adoption.

“We allow employees unpaid time off to take care of an ailing parent or child, but there is no job protection if they don’t show up for work the day after that family member dies,” said state Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland), the chief sponsor of the bill. “This bill would ensure that Oregon workers have up to two weeks off to mourn, make arrangements and attend services in honor of the lost family member.”

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