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Time off work to attend children's hospital appointments

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Chess player, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. Chess player

    Chess player New Member

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    Our three year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes about a month ago. We've found the forum very helpful in helping us to learn a lot, so thank you to everybody.

    Work were very good about just letting me have a few days off without it counting as holiday, when everything first happened. Today we had a one month check and are going in for a morning next week to learn to use a different blood test meter. I just wondered what legal rights (if any) I had to attend these appointments in work time? I'm sure there will be a number of these in the months and years ahead. I'm lucky that my employer is very reasonable, but wanted to understand the formal position before exploring further with them.
     
  2. Nancy in VA

    Nancy in VA Approved members

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    Where do you live? Employment law differs sometimes from state to state and definitely internationally.

    I know that when I worked, my own sick leave could not be used for my children being sick, or for children's appointments. Typically, the hours would just be made up in the same pay period - so work a couple extra hours on other days to make up for it.

    FMLA will provide some provisions for caring for a sick child but in many cases, that just means the ability to take leave without pay without losing you job.
     
  3. Snowflake

    Snowflake Approved members

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    If you're in the US, FMLA might apply, after some hoop jumping. First, to qualify for FMLA at all, you have to work for a large employer with more than 50 employees (or for a public employer), and you must have worked there for more than a year.

    If you satisfy those requirements, attendance at your child's endo appointments probably qualifies as "intermittent" FMLA leave because T1D is a "serious health condition;" however, you'll have to submit medical certification paperwork to HR to get that determination. If the leave is FMLA-qualified, you should be able to use any of your accrued paid leave to cover the time away from the office. (Here's hoping that your employer continues to be reasonable!)
     
  4. Crystal Woodward (Jackson)

    Crystal Woodward (Jackson) Approved members

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    FMLA to care for sick child and doctor's appointment

    Parents/guardians may be able to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA requires employers to give their employees up to 12 weeks of leave without pay due to a health condition each year. It can be used to take care of children with diabetes. For example, a parent/guardian might use it if his/her child is hospitalized, or for doctor's appointments. It should not generally be used to provide care to their children at school because this is the school's responsibility. However, many employees do not qualify for protections under this law. The employee must have worked for the same employer for twelve consecutive months and for at least 1,250 hours in those twelve months. The employer must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of each other. For more information about FMLA go to the link below. I also encourage this parent to call us at 1-800-DIABETES to receive information and expert guidance to resolve this situation. Hope this helps.

    http://www.diabetes.org/living-with.../employment-discrimination/medical-leave.html
     
  5. jenm999

    jenm999 Approved members

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    That's a bummer. My husband is allowed to use his sick time to care for our child. Since I work for myself, at home, I do most of the daytime care/appointments/consulting by phone with the school nurse etc., but there are times when I have a meeting or some other conflict, and he uses his sick time to pick up the slack. It helps that he almost never gets sick himself and has a month or so of sick time accrued. But he also works for a university and though the pay is not as great as he'd get in the private sector this kind of quality of life stuff can't be beat (also amazing insurance).

    I do think about how hard it would be to manage this disease without one parent having some flexibility. If I were commuting to the city, for instance, I certainly would have changed jobs by now. If only because I am a wreck without decent sleep and have coped by sleeping in and starting work around 10 after I've been up several times for diabetes care.
     
  6. Mo1

    Mo1 Approved members

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    I applied for intermittent FMLA apt his summer and was approved quickly. I work for the same district where my daughter goes to school. There were a lot of nursing issues and I had to go rescue my 7 y/o at the time from horrific errors that put her safety at risk (many times). Some unethical person at my daughter's school called my boss several times to report that I was there. I always informed my boss, but felt I needed the protection.
     
  7. funnygrl

    funnygrl Approved members

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    I've never heard of any having to make a separate trip to a clinic to learn a new glucometer. What meter are you learning? Or is it a CGMS start?
     
  8. Mama Salty

    Mama Salty Approved members

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    I'm having similar issues. I live in California. I was "lucky" enough to be unemployed when my daughter was diagnosed since we were in the hospital for a week. At the end of last school year I got a part-time job with the school district. Now I've learned that I get 3 "personal discretion" days, 3 "personal necessity" days, and (I think) 3 sick days. Sounds pretty generous I suppose, but the pediatric endocrinologist is more than a 10 hour drive from where we live (in the middle of nowhere). With two small kids (one diabetic), that's a day to drive there and a day to drive back. And she goes every 3 months, so there will be one over the summer that won't be a problem but 3 during school. I've been told that I can't use sick days for my daughter's appts (though my mom is in HR and says this is wrong and against CA law), and I've been told that I'm "not allowed" to take unpaid leave. So I'm left wondering what's going to happen when that 3rd (or sooner) appt rolls around and I have no "personal" leave left. (I learned about the intricacies of this when I had to ask for leave for an out-of-state wedding that my mom had already bought the plane tickets for before I discovered I couldn't use sick leave or just go unpaid for my daughter's appts.) Even if it turns out I can use the sick leave, I'd have to hope that neither me nor my kids gets otherwise sick the entire school year. Which is pretty unlikely. So aggravating.
     
  9. Nancy in VA

    Nancy in VA Approved members

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    Mama Salty - you need to apply for FMLA. That's a federal right and trumps CA law. What it will give you is the ability to take unpaid leave without penalty from your employer.
     
  10. Sarah Maddie's Mom

    Sarah Maddie's Mom Approved members

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    Just wanted to say thank you, Crystal for your legal advocacy on behalf of Type 1 kids in school. We have had great support over the years from our school system but I have read and heard of so many instances when you helped others that I felt compelled to post. :)
     
  11. jenm999

    jenm999 Approved members

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    TEN HOURS?! Wow. Others have good advice about FMLA etc. but I wonder if you could skype for these appointments (assuming you have a local pediatrician who can keep tabs on her physically)? Our endo does height, weight, temp, BP, A1c - all of which could be done anywhere - and then checks my son's site areas, fingertips etc. Most of what we do is TALK TALK TALK.

    Three sick days seems pretty stingy to me. That's fine for a cold or whatever but what if you get the flu and are bedridden? Do they want you coming in sick? NO! The policies in this country are ridiculous.
     
  12. Mama Salty

    Mama Salty Approved members

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    Yeah, I'm really glad for this thread (thanks, Chess Player!) because I was not at all familiar with FMLA. Unfortunately I won't have been employed for a year until May 2016, but when that day arrives, I'm signing up! (Assuming I haven't already been fired for unauthorized leave...)
     
  13. Mama Salty

    Mama Salty Approved members

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    We looked into skyping and similar after her first appt, but unfortunately they don't offer anything like that. And yea, it is mostly talking. She was seeing a local pediatrician about once a month just to keep an eye on things, but the pediatrician left and they haven't got a new one. And I'm not too crazy about any of the other providers at the local clinic. They seem...not very well informed about *Type 1* diabetes. I don't really even mind the 10hrs *that* much since it's not too often. We'd usually just try to make a fun trip of it - swim in the motel pool, do something toursisty, etc.

    Yep. It is ridiculous. I work in a middle school and right in front of me is a sign proclaiming "Please Don't Come To School If You're Sick!"
     

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