Family Medical Leave Act
Living with MS means a lifetime of unpredictability. You may feel perfectly fine when you go to bed, but sometime during the night, a significant front moves through the neighborhood wreaking havoc on your body. Suddenly, getting out of bed to go into work would require the assistance of a powerhouse Olympic team, only they didn’t happen show up at your door to lend a hand this morning. Therefore, not only can you not go into the office, but neither can your caregiver who has to stand-in for the Olympic team and help out.
Comments and Innuendoes
Feeling like you’ve been mowed down by a bulldozer isn’t bad enough, but the last time you called in when the weather brought on a worsening of symptoms your supervisor made a comment, “This isn’t a great way to start the new year, you know.” Reflecting on that comment, your heart fills with dread as you pick up the phone to call your supervisor. As you tell her your name, you hear the deep sigh and long silence as your supervisor comments, “what is it this time?”
As you hang up the phone, you think of the not-so-subtle innuendoes coworkers make just loud enough for you to hear. “Oh, it’s raining, I’m surprised you were able to make it in today.” “It’s unfortunate you don’t see the logic in what I’m suggesting. Maybe you’ll be able to see things more clearly when the weather improves.”
Job Protection Under FMLA
Missing time from work due to your illness or for providing care for your family members places you at risk of losing your job for excessive absenteeism. Making plans that we can keep can be difficult. We don’t want to be unreliable but if our care receiver is sick, we have no choice but to stay home and provide care. The Family and Medical Leave Act recognizes that struggle. It tries to provide a balance between the employer who needs someone on the job and the employee who wants to work but can’t.
For the employer, it only protects employees who have already proved they are assets to the company – those who have worked for a full year and who regularly put in time to help the company be successful. For the employee who qualifies, it allows them to miss time from work to take care of themselves or their immediate family members with a serious health condition for up to three months (480 hours) during a 365 consecutive day period. If the leave is taken during that time, they may return to work with the same pay and benefits and into the same job they left.
Specifically, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides job protection to individuals with chronic health conditions like multiple sclerosis if the following applies:
- Your company employees at least 15 people,
- You worked for your employer a total of twelve months (during the past seven years), and
- During the past 12-consecutive months you worked at least 1, 250 hours (that’s about 156 days, 31 weeks, or almost eight months) If you worked less time than the 1,250 hours, you do not qualify for FMLA job protection.
- If you qualify for FMLA and you work 40 hours per week, you may be able to miss up to 480 hours of unpaid leave time per year to handle medical care issues.
- If you work less than 40-hours per week, the amount of time you can take off per year corresponds to the number of hours you work on average per week.
You also qualify for FMLA if you are the spouse, child, or parent of someone with a serious health condition.
FMLA Does Not Provide Pay
FMLA provides job protection. It does not provide you with a way to receive money while you are out of work. Lost wages are governed entirely by company leave policies unless Medicare, Medicaid, Workers Compensation, or some other Insurance company supplies employee wages.
Find additional information click here Family and Medical Leave Act
This article originally appeared on Multiplesclerosis.Net by Health-Union, LLC and has been reposted with permission.