I wish I had a dollar bill (remember when it was a nickle?) for every time I get asked about FMLA (the Family Medical Leave Act). People with chronic illness turn to this “benefit” when illness rears it’s ugly head. And, it can be a good option depending on some variables (such as the size of your company, your sick time policy, and considerations around applying for short term disability — and others I’m probably forgetting.)
According to this article in The New York Times , proposed legislation will change the regulations – to eliminate corporate abuse! It seems that the Labor Department is getting pressure from employers to make it even more difficult to use this benefit.
Currently, you can take two days off without notice. The legislation would require you to submit a request prior — and doctor’s would have to re certify on a yearly (rather than one time) basis that the patient has a serious illness.
According to the article, employers are complaining that people are abusing the term “serious health condition” and using it for (not serious?) health conditions such as asthma or a migraine. “One of corporate America’s biggest complaints was that many workers with chronic conditions, like asthma or migraine headaches, took frequent, unscheduled leaves without notice.”
The Department of Labor doesn’t want to identify what a serious illness is – they want Congress to do it. Tell me: Can you predict you’re going to have a migraine or your asthma will act up? Beats me.
The good news about the legislation is that would expand benefits to returning Veterans. The bad news is that if you want to fight this, you’ll be delaying much needed legislation for Veterans. Oyyy! Not a good position to be in.
I’d really like to know (comment please! – I’m going to post the results on other sites)
Have you used FMLA – why and how?
Do you have a problem with requesting a medical leave of a few days from your employer?
Do you want Congress to define a serious health condition (see the FMLA site)?
Get the conversation rolling, folks.