Saturday, August 21, 2010

Applied for I Leave

I finally did it. I had my doctor's visit this week where I brought up applying for intermittent leave. My doctor has really been good about all of the different things I bring up to her and has even called me a pioneer for some of the ones she had never heard about.

I explained to my doctor that my company will be cracking down on our sick policy. I don't take advantage of it, but once in a while, I will leave early. Leaving early, arriving late or missing a day for Migraine would all count as an occurrence or 'against' an employee unless they were under fmla protection. After so many occurrences, you would be put on verbal warning, then written warning which could lead to termination.

I honestly can't say I'm against the policy as I see people abuse it all of the time, but it scares me because of something that is beyond my control and something I lean over backward not to take advantage of. I probably 'over stay' my welcome at work to prove something I have no right to try to prove as it is totally against what is best for me and my health. I told my doctor that I probably trudge through too many days when I really shouldn't.

My doctor's only comment, after shaking her head disapproving and whispering under her breath about trudging through the day, was that I should have done this a long time ago. She happily took the paperwork and will be sending them into my company's leave department.

My next step was that I didn't want to formally apply until I had talked to my doctor and to Bart, my boss. As luck would have it, Bart was going to be in the office the day after my doctor's appointment as he does not work in the same building I work out of. I really wanted to talk to him in person about the leave as I had mentioned it to him in passing about four or five months ago before I even knew the policy was going to change.

Back then, Bart was a little surprised by it and seemed a little taken back as he has really been good with me and gives me the latitude I need. At that time, I told him that we never know what the future holds; little did I know it held this change in the sick policy which took away any manager discretion around the subject.

I was nervous about talking to Bart because I didn't want to alienate him, but given everything including the fact that I am still getting too many Migraines and my tolerance threshold is wearing thin, I forged forward. Bart took everything great, not that he really had a choice, but it made it so much easier. I sent in my application, am awaiting my doctor to complete her portion and then will see if I get approved (not really concerned about that) and how often I will need my doctor to fill out a recertification form.

In this time since May when I started seriously contemplating this, there have been many occasions that I have asked myself three questions: Should I leave now? Would I leave now if I was already approved? Am I going to leave now? Many times I would answer these questions and do what was contrary to my health. I even told Bart this when I talked with him. I told him that I feel I am much harder on me than he is in this respect. He just gave me a crazy look.

I hope I have nothing to lose by applying for intermittent fmla leave. I know a job is important for everyone, but I am the only income and health insurance for my family that includes two college aged kids. I am hoping that I will feel easier about taking care of myself under this protection and will see if it makes a difference to me. I do know people who have had their jobs saved by this protection. I don't think my job is on the line right now, but I have to prepare and be ready for what tomorrow holds as I am not the employee I could be either.

Are you on intermittent leave? Do you feel it has benefited you? Have you / are you going to recertify to extend your intermittent leave?

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13 comments:

Jamie Valendy said...

At first, I was going to take intermittent FMLA leave, but I ended up having to stop working all together...taking the disability route.

I think that you making this move is an excellent step in the right direction. Even if you rarely use the benefit, the assurance of job protection will lower your level of anxiety if/when you do really need to use it. I am glad that you are taking a stand for your health, and I hope that this policy benefits you and your family by giving you some security.

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

I have taken intermittent leave when I worked for a large corporation with a strict absenteeism policy even for the managers like myself that worked 60+ hour weeks. It protected my job when I was most vulnerable in the shark tank atmosphere that prevailed at that business. That is what the law was designed to do!!!

MigrainePuppet said...

Jamie - I am sorry you couldn't take advantage of the intermittent leave and had to stop working. I felt I needed to do something and hopefully this will help on many levels. BTW, I've tried to leave a comment on your site, but I was not able to leave one.

MigrainePuppet said...

Winny - you sound like me. I often work 60+ hours a week although my boss joked that now I will need to get my 40 hours of work done in 32. I told him 40 hours sounded nice. I do feel I need to at least try this protection right now as I feel more and more vulnerable lately.

Jessica said...

I have had FMLA for about 3 years now. I rarely had to use it, but it was in place just in case. However, I did need to use it, along with my short term disability for my leave of absence from May 2nd to August 10th. The one thing I didn't get was long term disability, which I regret. I will be adding that as soon as open enrollment of my benefits comes around. Luckily I am feeling a little better and my 4 shifts back to work so far have been pretty good. I just dread when things get bad again as they usually do. Its such a rollercoaster ride!

MigrainePuppet said...

I'm glad you don't normally need to use it and that you had it for when you really did. That's a great reminder to us to make sure we take a look at all of our insurance options. I know someone else who didn't have LTD only to regret it when she really needed it too. Thanks for that prompt to check our insurance!

jasminepw said...

You're doing the right thing! Like Jamie, I decided to stop working all together. There's just no way I could have worked on my health issues while struggling to function at work. I tried for too many years, and failed miserably.

MigrainePuppet said...

Thanks, Jasmine. You know how tough this balance is too. I think it'll be nice to have the job protection if it's needed while trying to work through everything. This is a tough disease for all of us.

Jamie Valendy said...

I think I've fixed the problem. Can you see if you can post a comment on my site now?

I've been lucky to have long-term disability (LTD) and social security disability (SSDI). The nasty thing is that if you get SSDI benefits, that will lower the amount your LTD will pay. I've dealt with A LOT of MESS, since my migraines were primarily due to a car accident.

LTD - some companies automatically provide it and some don't. I would definitely look into getting it. Look at the percentage of your salary that it'll pay, too. I don't think you can change this, but at least you'll know what to expect if you ever have to use the benefit. My experience of getting LTD approved was a nightmare, and it continues to be a nightmare with them requiring paperwork so often. Also, many LTD require that you try to get SSDI, or they'll stop paying.

SSDI - also very difficult to get. I think they always deny benefits the first time, so you'll have to appeal it. My attorney worked hard to get me the benefits I deserve. You can't make more than like $900/month or something, though, in order to keep it. Unfortunately, I can't hold down a job making that anyway, so I'm blessed to have been able to get the SSDI approved.

It's just hard to accept that I'm only 25 and have been relying on SSDI for a year and a half already. :(

MigrainePuppet said...

Hi Jamie, thanks for all of the additional information. Migraine disease is so hard to accept and manage especially when it takes so much away from us. This is why it's so important to share, support and be supported by other Migraineurs.

I was not able to leave a comment on your Migraine blog yet although it looks like your rosebud blog would accept it with no problem.

Jamie Valendy said...

hmmm... I just checked, and all of the settings are the same for the two blogs...

Jamie Valendy said...

It should work now. I think it was the template I was using.

MigrainePuppet said...

Looks like it's working great now!