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Senator Book, District 32 — Press Release


February 17, 2021

CONTACT: Claire Vansusteren, (352) 281-9056

Senator Lauren Book Files Bill Ensuring Paid Leave in Cases of Stillbirth

Plantation, FL —

Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) has today filed legislation to ensure all state employees who give birth have access to paid family leave, even in cases of stillbirth. Book filed SB 1368 in response to the case of a Washington D.C. public school teacher who was denied paid leave following the stillbirth of her daughter.

“Paid family leave is critical for ALL mothers, regardless of the circumstances of their child’s birth,” says Senator Lauren Book, herself a mother of four-year-old twins. “If you have given birth, you deserve time to heal. We are going to protect that for State employees.”

District of Columbia Public Schools denied first grade math and science teacher Elizabeth O’Donnell paid family leave last month 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.

“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.”