Information for those who work and have FM/CFS, etc.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by IowaMorningGlory, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. IowaMorningGlory

    IowaMorningGlory New Member

    An article in Newsletter I subscribe to. I know a lot of posts are concerning whether your employer should know if you have FM/CFS, etc. What to do if you are having a hard time with your job because of these syndromes.

    Your Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    From Karen Lee Richards,
    Your Guide to Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

    If you have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome and are continuing to work, there may be a time when your doctor feels you need to take a few weeks off work for your health. Perhaps you are having a particularly bad flare and need an extended period of rest to improve. Or maybe you need extra time off following an illness or surgical procedure, since the recovery period for people with FM or CFS is usually longer than normal. If you find yourself in one of these situations, it’s important for you to know your rights concerning your employment.

    The Family and Medical Leave Act: Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) passed in 1993, certain employers must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

    * The birth of a child of the employee and in order to care for the child.
    * The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
    * To care for the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee, if they have a serious health condition.
    * A serious health condition that causes the employee to be unable to perform the functions of his/her position.

    Employers Who Must Comply: Any employer who is engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce who employs 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year must comply with the FMLA. Elementary and secondary schools and public agencies must also comply without regard to the number of people they employ. A public agency is any federal or state government, political subdivision of government or agency of government.
    Employees Who Are Eligible: An eligible employee is one who has been employed by the employer for at least 12 months and has worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the leave. To be eligible, an employee must also be employed at a worksite where the employer employs 50 or more people within 75 miles of the worksite.
    Definition of a “Serious Health Condition”: The FMLA considers a serious health condition to be an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

    How Medical Leave May Be Taken: If medical leave is being requested for a serious health condition, the leave may be taken as consecutive weeks, intermittently (i.e., two days a week off), or on a schedule of reduced hours (i.e., working four hours per day), depending upon the recommendation of the health care provider. Regardless of how it is taken, it can total no more than 12 workweeks.

    Certification Requirements: An employer may require that any request for leave for a serious health condition be supported by a certification issued by your health care provider. The certification must state:

    * The date on which the serious health condition commenced.
    * The probable duration of the condition.
    * The appropriate medical facts within the knowledge of the health care provider.
    * That the employee is unable to perform the functions of his/her position.
    * The expected duration of the leave, and the dates of treatment (if leave is requested for planned medical treatment).

    Paid vs. Unpaid Leave: Generally, medical leave under the FMLA is considered to be unpaid leave. However, your employer can require you to use any accumulated paid leave (vacation, sick days, personal days) first. For example, if you have accrued a week of vacation, your medical leave would consist of one week of paid leave and 11 weeks of unpaid leave.

    Continuation of Health Insurance: While you are on medical leave, your employer is required to maintain your group health coverage at the same level and under the same conditions you would have had if you were still working. If you fail to return to work at the end of your approved medical leave, you may have to repay your employer for that health coverage unless you have a continuation, recurrence or onset of a serious health condition or there are other circumstances beyond your control.

    Returning to Work: When you return to work following medical leave, you have the right to be restored to the position you held when your leave began, or to be given an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay and other conditions. Your employer may not take away any benefits you accrued prior to the date you began medical leave.

    For more information and further details about your rights under the FMLA, check out:

    * FMLA FAQ
    * FMLA Fact Sheet
    * Full text of the FMLA
    * FMLA Form WH-380 – an optional form in pdf format that may be used to obtain certification from your health care provider. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

    Source: Family and Medical Leave Act. U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division. 1/23/07.
    Updated: January 24, 2007
  2. IowaMorningGlory

    IowaMorningGlory New Member

  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I worked for more than 30 years (32 to be exact) and as soon as FMLA was implemented, I had my paperwork completed by my doc and had it on file at work, as I had (still have) many major health issues.

    I normally used by FMLA for the time I went to my doctor appointments as well as the days that I was off sick due to one of my problems.

    Before I retired, I went on an extended FMLA sick leave, then ended up taking early retirement.

    Fortunately, I worked for a huge corporation and my FMLA time off was fully paid.

    FMLA time off is not legally SUPPOSED TO BE held against you. Believe me, it was--I could tell it in my performance appraisals and my rankings--but I could not have proved it.

    I really didn't care -- I knew it was close to the end of my working career, so it didn't matter. However, if I had been in my 20's or 30's, it would have been a total different story.

    FMLA is a good thing and everyone working should check into it if they work for a company with more than 50 employees!!

  4. bunnyfluff

    bunnyfluff Member

    for 12 weeks last year. I was very sick in a major flare, and near a break down, working a very stressful job. When I returned I was harassed, and I filed a grievance with the state, but I didn't really care, b/c I hated those ppl anyway, and didn't care if I left. I had lined up other work while I was off.

    It was nice, getting paid, and not having to go deal with those jerks. Life was sweet b/c I was commissioned, and all of my backlog was still being paid, even though I was not working. That chapped their rears even more!
  5. moab341

    moab341 New Member

    Hi all,

    I applied for FMLA and was approved, but I don't get paid for the time off. I did it so when I was really in a bad way and had to stay home,they could not count it against me.
    In order to get paid, I'd have to take short term disability.
    Did you get paid for FMLA or were you on short term disability too?

  6. jmq

    jmq New Member

    thank you for the explanation of FMLA. I think I understand it now. What happens if I used up 4 weeks of all my paid time. Does that mean I now only have 4 more weeks left of FMLA? Also who tracks the time, I have not been keeping track of the hour hear and there. I am afraid to ask too many questions of my HR office. I do not know what I would do without all the support I get on this message board.
    Hugs to all of you...

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