Illinois bill would grant parents extended bereavement leave after child's death

A Rockford mother is turning her grief into action by helping to draft a bill to extend bereavement benefits in Illinois.

The bill has been in the making since 2021.

Laura Kane created Marshmallow's Hope, a nonprofit organization that aides in mental health and suicide prevention after the death of her son, Zachary.

Kane says her son took his own life and less than a week later, she was fired from her job for missing days and underperforming during her time of grief.


A bill introduced on Wednesday in Zachary’s honor would grant parents six to twelve weeks of bereavement leave for the death of a child.

"The bill will give families the job protection they deserve during this type of crisis. I truly hope no one has to use this benefit, but in the event they find themselves in these circumstances, the bill will provide them protection during their darkest hours," said Kane.

Senate Bill 20-34 applies to youth suicide and homicide deaths. Lawmakers hope it will pass swiftly during this legislative session.