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    Old 05-02-2010, 11:14 AM   #1
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    anyone else have FMLA...

    FMLA or the Family Medical Leave Act. It was 'suggested' to me to get it since I had had over the allowable number of abscenses in 12 months. I got it and wow, it was kind of nice to see exactly what the doctor thought of me and my conditions, (AS, fms, osteoarthritis) and how it could limit me and I was the one responsible if I thought I needed a day off or whatever, it was up to me and did not need to be confirmed by the doctor (basically, I have the power)..

    I guess what my question is.. anyone ever had a problem with employers and them finding other 'reasons' to fire you if you cannot do your job due to limitations of the illness. My stepmom was a manager and said that if I worked for her and missed time due to my health,even with the fmla (man, she is harsh, glad I never had to work for her!!) she would find other ways, and said that other managers would do the same. Due to 'performance' from missing work.

    When I got the fmla it wasnt my intent to use it as a free 'get out of work card'. But to cover me if I had to. Now I can at least miss work if i am in agony instead of going in and barely making it through my day.

    I may be getting to the point that I have to get disability. any suggestions or comments??


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    Old 05-02-2010, 08:00 PM   #2
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    Re: anyone else have FMLA...

    FMLA is a federal law the Family and Medical Leave Act. It allows for job protection for 12 weeks within a year.

    Some employers start the FMLA clock 1/1 of each year so if you use FMLA you can use up to 12 weeks (continuously or intermittently) by 12/31. Then you'd have 12 more weeks of FMLA the following calendar year.

    Some employer start the FMLA clock from your first date of use. So if you apply and use your first day of FMLA 5/22 you have 12 weeks of (continuously or intermittently) by 5/21/11. Then you'd have 12 more weeks of FMLA beginning 5/22/12.

    There is no harm in applying for FMLA. Your employer will give you a form for completion or if they have a vendor that manages FMLA for them they may provide you a number to call to start the process.

    I had an employee once who had a husband with severe mental illness issues. It came down to her needing to take 1 day off every week or 2 for his care. But she refused to fill out the FMLA paperwork. We did everything short of driving her to her husbands doctor dragging her behind us. She refused to fill it out, and continued to have frequent unexpected absences. We again urged her to fill it out letting her know that only HR will know what is going on, we just need the FMLA so we can allow the frequent unexpected absences. She refused. We had to fire her a few weeks later. It was so sad since she was such a good employee but it wasn't fair to the other employees to just let her call in with unexpected absences....when there was a clear FMLA plan that would allow her to take those days for her husband.

    If you are on FMLA can an employer still fire you? Yes, they can. Let's say in the employee I noted above that she applied and was approved for FMLA for the care of her husband. But at the office she wasn't doing her work, wasn't returning calls to customers, was taking long lunches, was being rude, etc. Any performance issue could lead to eventual termination.

    When an employee has an approved FMLA claim the manager then has to watch for the employee's performance BUT takes into consideration their leave. An employee taking leave for chemotherapy may be a bit tired at work and most employers and fellow employees understand that. I also had an employee who had a terminally ill husband and she did apply for FMLA and was approved. Since it was such a significant thing in her life she shared it with most everyone so the team, and the whole office, wanted to help in any way they could by taking on her work when she was gone, etc.

    As a manager the only time I had a concern with FMLA that I had to discuss with HR was one of my employees who filed for FMLA and was approved. He expected to take a day or so every few weeks for his FMLA. Then it turned into every other Friday and the Monday following. Then another manager confided in me that he ran into that employee in Las Vegas at a casino on one of the weeks the employee needed Friday and Monday for FMLA and the employee even said "oh it's a long weekend to enjoy a few shows". So it became apparent that the employee may be abusing FMLA. All I did was ask HR to re-verify the FMLA certification. Turns out this employee was no longer seeing the doctor who agreed to the need for FMLA and the doctor had released the employee from his care. The employee was unable to provide the needed documentation for further FMLA and that employee did resign.

    So yes, you should apply for FMLA. No one can fire you for the reason you applied for FMLA if it is approved. In reality only HR or the vendor they hire needs to know the "why" and the amount of documentation required is minimal. If you need the time for your own personal care or the care of a loved one you have the right to file for FMLA.

    So lets say someone has depression and files for FMLA and expect to use it intermittently. I, as the manager, would not need to know the reason at all and I have no right to ask the employee. It would also be my job as a manager to quelch any discussion among the employees as to why the emlpoyee is out. All I can say to my staff is "Susie is out today and expects to be back on Monday". Employees may come and say "it's not fair" and I'd every say is "it's an excused absence and that's all you need to know".

    If you have any more questions let me know.
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    Old 03-29-2012, 10:52 PM   #3
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    Re: anyone else have FMLA...

    Have been on fmla used all twelve weeks allowed doc released me back to work after a couple days I had a major flairup chronic pain that is to say. I don't what to do now and what are my options. Can I go right back out on another leave like STD or ADA or some other leave?

    Last edited by Blueskygray; 03-30-2012 at 02:07 AM.

    Old 03-30-2012, 04:30 AM   #4
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    Re: anyone else have FMLA...

    Were you on STD? During your 12 wk FMLA you would have also been on STD if you were out for your own illness or injury. If you have access to the employee handbook you can see if there are other types of leave available to you and contact HR/Benefits to ask what your options are. ADA is not a form of leave, it's a law with many facets about dealing with employees who are able to work but need some accomodations possibility to do the job and it's a law regarding non-discrimination.
    Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

    Old 04-04-2012, 01:53 PM   #5
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    Re: anyone else have FMLA...

    About a thousand years ago, when I was working, I needed to take a
    Friday afternoon off every 12 weeks. My pain doc only did injections on my back on Friday's so I could rest on the weekend. I was using vacation time for everytime I took off. Well my boss decided he didn't like me doing that and he was looking for a way to get rid of me so, he told me that he wouldn't approve any more vacation time for me. I went to HR and they sent me to my doctor with the FMLA forms. When I got approved I had to give a copy to the boss. He about filled his pants! I had to really watch my P's and Q's after that because this jerk was noted for getting "pay backs". A year later I went out on disability that went from short term to permanent.

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