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TL;DR My wife's employer is telling her she can't use her saved up sick time during the second half of her maternity FMLA leave and has to take that time as unpaid leave or use her vacation time. Is the employer allowed to just say that? Doesnít it need to be in writing somewhere?†

LONG VERSION
My wife has worked for her company for 5+ years. She was due to give birth to our 1st child and informed them of the due date and asks about her maternity leave options. The HR people tell her about disability and parental leave and send her a sample excel spreadsheet used to calculate everything. My wife gets approval to take short term disability through insurance starting after the baby is born. She takes the sample excel sheet HR sent, fills in the details specific to her, and sends it to HR for their blessing. HR doesn't bother looking at it because the baby isn't due for over a month. The baby comes 3 weeks early, (everyone is healthy and doing great). Several days into her leave, she gets an email from HR saying that her leave plan doesn't jive with company policies. My wifeís leave plan had her using sick time for every part of the 12 weeks that isnít covered by disability or parental leave. This is what HR explains to us:†
1) FMLA starts the first day you take off and you get 12 weeks. (We went into the hospital on a Sunday, so that makes things simple because the first day off was a Monday.)
2) After you are out for 10 days, you can start short-term disability.
3) You can use sick time during those 10 days waiting for short-term disability to start.
4) Short-term disability lasts for 4 weeks.
5) Short-term disability pays 66% of her salary. During the 4 weeks you are on short-term disability, you can use your sick time to supplement. So each 8 hour day will be 5.33 hours of short-term disability and 2.67 hours of sick-leave.
6) After short term disability runs out, you get 2 weeks of paid parental leave from the company.
7) After parental leave runs out, you can use vacation time or take leave without pay. You can't use sick time during this 4 weeks except for doctor's appointments.†

Here is my concern. Prior to the baby, my wife had about 275 hours (34 days) of sick leave saved up. After using her sick leave for the first 10 days and then supplementing her disability, she still has 140 hours left. Since she is still earning sick time during this period, she will have 160 hours by the time her FMLA 12 weeks is up, so she has the sick time to cover the remaining 4 weeks of FMLA. She is planning on leaving this job to be a stay at home mom after the FMLA period is over. Many company FMLA polices actually require you to use up all your sick time during the FMLA period. They would rather you take 4 paid weeks and 10 unpaid weeks rather than 12 unpaid weeks and then 4 more paid weeks after. And most that donít require this, still allow you to take sick time during FMLA. My wifeís HR is claiming that they donít allow sick time during FMLA but allow vacation time. That doesnít make sense to me considering FMLA is medical leave. Since she is planning on leaving the company, if she isnít able to take this sick time that she earned, she will lose it. They donít pay out saved sick time, but they do pay out saved vacation time. This is a $4,000 issue for us. Her HR department has been pretty bad about communicating their policies and thatís why I want to fight this. I honestly donít even think they know what their policies are. When they sent my wife the parental leave policy, the part about paid leave during FMLA says:
Her company policy said: ďEmployees may choose or employers may require use of accrued paid leave while taking FML. In order to use paid leave for FML, employees must comply with the employerís normal paid leave policies.Ē
That line is essentially taken directly from the Department of Laborís website on FMLA. It doesnít actually outline an actual procedure specific to their company.†

My thought is thisÖThe company doesnít actually have a policy outlining using sick time during FMLA, but the HR people just go by what they have always done and no one has ever had 1 full month of sick time saved up that they wanted to use all at once. Considering the fact that she was allowed to use sick time for the first two weeks of FMLA and to supplement during the short-term disability portion of FMLA, the policy would have to specifically ban using sick time after disability, and not just say that you canít use sick time during FMLA at all.†

Anyway, Iím just looking for thoughts from people that may be familiar with FMLA and HR policies and law. Any help on how to pursue this is greatly appreciated. Iíll do my best to keep this post updated. †

P.S. Sorry for writing a whole book. Iíll give green to everyone who replies and says they read this whole post!

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A great argument for PTO.†† When you have a separate sick benefit, there will be plenty of people abuse the system by tak... (more)

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But on the other hand, separate sick days is necessary if you wan to encourage people to take days off when they aren't ... (more)

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Actually, most of the studies I've come across refute that theory.† Whether they'll take a day off or not for being sick... (more)

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rated:
meade18 said:   TL;DR My wife's employer is telling her she can't use her saved up sick time during the second half of her maternity FMLA leave and has to take that time as unpaid leave or use her vacation time. Is the employer allowed to just say that? Doesnít it need to be in writing somewhere?†

LONG VERSION
My wife has worked for her company for 5+ years. She was due to give birth to our 1st child and informed them of the due date and asks about her maternity leave options. The HR people tell her about disability and parental leave and send her a sample excel spreadsheet used to calculate everything. My wife gets approval to take short term disability through insurance starting after the baby is born. She takes the sample excel sheet HR sent, fills in the details specific to her, and sends it to HR for their blessing. HR doesn't bother looking at it because the baby isn't due for over a month. The baby comes 3 weeks early, (everyone is healthy and doing great). Several days into her leave, she gets an email from HR saying that her leave plan doesn't jive with company policies. My wifeís leave plan had her using sick time for every part of the 12 weeks that isnít covered by disability or parental leave. This is what HR explains to us:†
1) FMLA starts the first day you take off and you get 12 weeks. (We went into the hospital on a Sunday, so that makes things simple because the first day off was a Monday.)
2) After you are out for 10 days, you can start short-term disability.
3) You can use sick time during those 10 days waiting for short-term disability to start.
4) Short-term disability lasts for 4 weeks.
5) Short-term disability pays 66% of her salary. During the 4 weeks you are on short-term disability, you can use your sick time to supplement. So each 8 hour day will be 5.33 hours of short-term disability and 2.67 hours of sick-leave.
6) After short term disability runs out, you get 2 weeks of paid parental leave from the company.
7) After parental leave runs out, you can use vacation time or take leave without pay. You can't use sick time during this 4 weeks except for doctor's appointments.†

Here is my concern. Prior to the baby, my wife had about 275 hours (34 days) of sick leave saved up. After using her sick leave for the first 10 days and then supplementing her disability, she still has 140 hours left. Since she is still earning sick time during this period, she will have 160 hours by the time her FMLA 12 weeks is up, so she has the sick time to cover the remaining 4 weeks of FMLA. She is planning on leaving this job to be a stay at home mom after the FMLA period is over. Many company FMLA polices actually require you to use up all your sick time during the FMLA period. They would rather you take 4 paid weeks and 10 unpaid weeks rather than 12 unpaid weeks and then 4 more paid weeks after. And most that donít require this, still allow you to take sick time during FMLA. My wifeís HR is claiming that they donít allow sick time during FMLA but allow vacation time. That doesnít make sense to me considering FMLA is medical leave. Since she is planning on leaving the company, if she isnít able to take this sick time that she earned, she will lose it. They donít pay out saved sick time, but they do pay out saved vacation time. This is a $4,000 issue for us. Her HR department has been pretty bad about communicating their policies and thatís why I want to fight this. I honestly donít even think they know what their policies are. When they sent my wife the parental leave policy, the part about paid leave during FMLA says:
Her company policy said: ďEmployees may choose or employers may require use of accrued paid leave while taking FML. In order to use paid leave for FML, employees must comply with the employerís normal paid leave policies.Ē
That line is essentially taken directly from the Department of Laborís website on FMLA. It doesnít actually outline an actual procedure specific to their company.†

My thought is thisÖThe company doesnít actually have a policy outlining using sick time during FMLA, but the HR people just go by what they have always done and no one has ever had 1 full month of sick time saved up that they wanted to use all at once. Considering the fact that she was allowed to use sick time for the first two weeks of FMLA and to supplement during the short-term disability portion of FMLA, the policy would have to specifically ban using sick time after disability, and not just say that you canít use sick time during FMLA at all.†

Anyway, Iím just looking for thoughts from people that may be familiar with FMLA and HR policies and law. Any help on how to pursue this is greatly appreciated. Iíll do my best to keep this post updated. †

P.S. Sorry for writing a whole book. Iíll give green to everyone who replies and says they read this whole post!

Read this document from DOL that explains FMLA: https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/employeeguide.pdf

The following on Page 6 is what it says about use of sick leave. The statement you quoted from your employer document seems paraphrased from here. In any case, as long you followed normal procedure for taking sick leave, you should be in the good.
Page 6 said: FMLA leave is unpaid leave. However, if you have sick time, vacation time, personal time, etc., saved up with your employer, you may use that leave time, along with your FMLA leave so that you continue to get paid. In order to use such leave, you must follow your employerís normal leave rules such as submitting a leave form or providing advance notice. Even if you donít want to use your paid leave, your employer can require you to use it during your FMLA leave.

ETA: Perhaps, the employers argument is that she cannot use sick leave since "she is not sick" (your OP said: "You can't use sick time during this 4 weeks except for doctor's appointments). If so, see Page 4 of the document linked above. It clearly lists pregnancy (without any qualifications) as a health condition qualifying for FMLA leave.
Page 4 said: The most common serious health conditions that qualify for FMLA leave are:
4) pregnancy (including prenatal medical appointments, incapacity due to morning sickness, and medically required bed rest).




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Nothing directly to contribute, just two thoughts:
Saving up sick leave is a weird thing. I know it is normal for many employers, but still seems strange to me. I like the idea of staying home when one is sick, and having contagious coworkers stay home when they are sick.
Planning to quit right after parental leave. This one irks me a bit, because the whole point of FMLA is protect make sure one's job is waiting for you after the leave. I don't think it is intended as a baby related severance package. While I understand exploiting it as an individual, I have firsthand seen the implications of this. An employer needs someone to fill a certain role and has the budget for one employee to do it. When the employee is out for a few months, things get stretched/deferred for a little while, but the manager cannot hire a replacement. When the employee is due to return, they announce that they are quitting (as was their plan from the start). The manager now has to scramble to hire someone on the quick for the backlog. When the employer is looking at potential candidates, they get worried about seeing a repeat if they choose younger women, who may get unfairly passed.

Edit: To clarify, I fully support parental leave, and I feel that it should be extended from the current industry standard (the US is way behind here). I think it makes more sense to cover it under something like unemployment insurance, and there should not be a need for the new parent to hide their intentions of staying home afterwards to get the benefit.

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beatme said:   Saving up sick leave is a weird thing. I know it is normal for many employers, but still seems strange to me. I like the idea of staying home when one is sick, and having contagious coworkers stay home when they are sick.

Saving up sick leave and staying home when one is sick dont have to be mutually exclusive. I fully agree with not coming to work when you are sick/maybe contagious instead of trying to be a "hero". If really needed, work from home if that is allowed.
But if you still have sick days left (either because you dont fall sick often or if you have a lot of sick days awarded), why not bank it for any contingency; e.g. meet with an accident or have a serious medical issue that requires several days to recover.

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Seems to me that
* 10 days + 4 weeks + 2 weeks (+ more unpaid if you like) is more than many get
* you'd be entitled to use sick leave at the end of that only if your wife is actually sick at that time, and not just "sick of changing diapers"

Sounds reasonable. My company requires exhausting vacation days before taking anything unpaid, which is more restrictive.

Do you get a parental/bonding allowance yourself?

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beatme said:   Nothing directly to contribute, just two thoughts:
Saving up sick leave is a weird thing. I know it is normal for many employers, but still seems strange to me. I like the idea of staying home when one is sick, and having contagious coworkers stay home when they are sick.
Planning to quit right after parental leave. This one irks me a bit, because the whole point of FMLA is protect make sure one's job is waiting for you after the leave. I don't think it is intended as a baby related severance package. While I understand exploiting it as an individual, I have firsthand seen the implications of this. An employer needs someone to fill a certain role and has the budget for one employee to do it. When the employee is out for a few months, things get stretched/deferred for a little while, but the manager cannot hire a replacement. When the employee is due to return, they announce that they are quitting (as was their plan from the start). The manager now has to scramble to hire someone on the quick for the backlog. When the employer is looking at potential candidates, they get worried about seeing a repeat if they choose younger women, who may get unfairly passed.

My wife and I agree with this and she planned on telling her employer before she had the baby that she wasn't going to come back. But before she did, she went to the company HR person and explained the situation and asked what she should do. Surprisingly, the HR rep actually put my wife's interests over the company's and explained to her why she shouldn't tell her boss that she plans to leave. Essentially, the second you say you plan on leaving, it gives the employer a legitimate reason to let you go. Unfortunately, health insurance is tied to employment and having a baby is a very health insurance dependent process. So, while the right thing to do was to tell the employer our plans, there is no guarantee that they would have done the right thing back to us. If they had let her go before she had the baby, she would lose her health insurance, her saved up sick time (that she earned), and her short-term disability (that she contributed to). If there was some sort of guarantee that they wouldn't get rid of her, she would have told them. Oddly enough, that same helpful HR rep is the one that has been super unhelpful now that she is out on leave and trying to use her sick time.

rated:
ksea said:   Seems to me that
* 10 days + 4 weeks + 2 weeks (+ more unpaid if you like) is more than many get
* you'd be entitled to use sick leave at the end of that only if your wife is actually sick at that time, and not just "sick of changing diapers"

Sounds reasonable. My company requires exhausting vacation days before taking anything unpaid, which is more restrictive.

Do you get a parental/bonding allowance yourself?

Unfortunately, no. Nothing specific for parental leave. My employer has a PTO system (sick and vacation all lumped in together). I've been here less than a year, so I only had two weeks saved up when the baby came. I took one week and went back to work so that I have one week available for a rainy day.

rated:
I read the whole post.

Sorry, nothing to contribute, so I'll wait until the thread gets long and someone else sidetracks it before I do.

rated:
For the remaining days, ask the doctor to write her a note saying she is sick and cannot perform her job duties. If they need details, see if the doctor will work with her to come up with a reasonable diagnosis-- perhaps postpartum depression.

Edit: My employer allows sick leave for care of a sick family member including a child. Perhaps the baby will have some illness at that time.

rated:
What state is this? Post the exact handbook section that addresses your employers sick policy. If the short term disability policy references anything about sick pay, post that, too. Federal law doesn't require paid time off, so these policies are driven by state and local regulations, then your handbook.

In the absence of state or local regulations, your handbook is the basically the law. Need the exact specific language to help you.

If you don't have a current copy of the handbook, call the HR department and ask for it. It's a common request for people to ask for the handbook or policy when they're pissed off about a policy decision they don't like. A good HR department will have the handbook to back up their decision. Although sometimes, the handbook is purposefully vague, which is a slightly different discussion.

rated:
It doesn't matter how sick you are or aren't. If there's a clear policy to deny sick benefits after a certain amount has been used, or something of the like, then the employer is justified in that position so long as state or local laws jive and they enforce that policy equally to all employees.

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taylor0987 said:   For the remaining days, ask the doctor to write her a note saying she is sick and cannot perform her job duties. If they need details, see if the doctor will work with her to come up with a reasonable diagnosis-- perhaps postpartum depression.

Edit: My employer allows sick leave for care of a sick family member including a child. Perhaps the baby will have some illness at that time.

We thought about doing that, but we're trying to go about it the most honest route first. We aren't going to fake an illness for my wife, but I thought it might be worth asking the pediatrician to write a note saying our son requires frequent (like every 2 hours) breastfeeding to maintain his weight growth, because they did actually tell us this.

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bindercarrie said:   What state is this? Post the exact handbook section that addresses your employers sick policy. If the short term disability policy references anything about sick pay, post that, too. Federal law doesn't require paid time off, so these policies are driven by state and local regulations, then your handbook.

In the absence of state or local regulations, your handbook is the basically the law. Need the exact specific language to help you.

If you don't have a current copy of the handbook, call the HR department and ask for it. It's a common request for people to ask for the handbook or policy when they're pissed off about a policy decision they don't like. A good HR department will have the handbook to back up their decision. Although sometimes, the handbook is purposefully vague, which is a slightly different discussion.

The employer is located in Maryland. My wife and I live in Virginia. I will ask my wife to get a copy of the employee handbook.†

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Yes, I think the post above mine is your easiest solution. Just talk to the doctor and have her write a note. They do it all the time. This should let her use the sick leave.

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Here's my experience. I worked for a 50+ employee company for 10 years. I didn't take sick leave, since it was covered by NY short term disability (6 wks for vaginal or 8 wks for c-section). I used rest of my vacation days to cover 3 1/2 month leave.

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Jajamommy said:   Here's my experience. I worked for a 50+ employee company for 10 years. I didn't take sick leave, since it was covered by NY short term disability (6 wks for vaginal or 8 wks for c-section). I used rest of my vacation days to cover 3 1/2 month leave.
They limit the amount of vacation she can have saved up at any given time and less than half of that can be carried over to the next year.

rated:
Nothing to add really. Know someone of equal shitty taste, probably worse. Hired into a new department in the same company 2 months before birth (they obviously knew she was prego). Complains and whines the whole first month (baby related issues to them, "just didn't want to go in the office that day" to us) , to which they allowed her for the most part all work at home and a lot of time off for baby/mommy appts. She tells us she plans on leaving after the baby. Needs bed rest for 3 weeks prior to birth - so no work, all paid. Leaves company after all paid stuff is exhausted (like 3 months - very nice company). Department for sure will look at women differently in the future.

Seriously women, get your crap together. You seriously screw over your gender's success in the work place.

rated:
fwuser12 said:   
meade18 said:   TL;DR My wife's employer is telling her she can't use her saved up sick time during the second half of her maternity FMLA leave and has to take that time as unpaid leave or use her vacation time. Is the employer allowed to just say that? Doesnít it need to be in writing somewhere?†

LONG VERSION
My wife has worked for her company for 5+ years. She was due to give birth to our 1st child and informed them of the due date and asks about her maternity leave options. The HR people tell her about disability and parental leave and send her a sample excel spreadsheet used to calculate everything. My wife gets approval to take short term disability through insurance starting after the baby is born. She takes the sample excel sheet HR sent, fills in the details specific to her, and sends it to HR for their blessing. HR doesn't bother looking at it because the baby isn't due for over a month. The baby comes 3 weeks early, (everyone is healthy and doing great). Several days into her leave, she gets an email from HR saying that her leave plan doesn't jive with company policies. My wifeís leave plan had her using sick time for every part of the 12 weeks that isnít covered by disability or parental leave. This is what HR explains to us:†
1) FMLA starts the first day you take off and you get 12 weeks. (We went into the hospital on a Sunday, so that makes things simple because the first day off was a Monday.)
2) After you are out for 10 days, you can start short-term disability.
3) You can use sick time during those 10 days waiting for short-term disability to start.
4) Short-term disability lasts for 4 weeks.
5) Short-term disability pays 66% of her salary. During the 4 weeks you are on short-term disability, you can use your sick time to supplement. So each 8 hour day will be 5.33 hours of short-term disability and 2.67 hours of sick-leave.
6) After short term disability runs out, you get 2 weeks of paid parental leave from the company.
7) After parental leave runs out, you can use vacation time or take leave without pay. You can't use sick time during this 4 weeks except for doctor's appointments.†

Here is my concern. Prior to the baby, my wife had about 275 hours (34 days) of sick leave saved up. After using her sick leave for the first 10 days and then supplementing her disability, she still has 140 hours left. Since she is still earning sick time during this period, she will have 160 hours by the time her FMLA 12 weeks is up, so she has the sick time to cover the remaining 4 weeks of FMLA. She is planning on leaving this job to be a stay at home mom after the FMLA period is over. Many company FMLA polices actually require you to use up all your sick time during the FMLA period. They would rather you take 4 paid weeks and 10 unpaid weeks rather than 12 unpaid weeks and then 4 more paid weeks after. And most that donít require this, still allow you to take sick time during FMLA. My wifeís HR is claiming that they donít allow sick time during FMLA but allow vacation time. That doesnít make sense to me considering FMLA is medical leave. Since she is planning on leaving the company, if she isnít able to take this sick time that she earned, she will lose it. They donít pay out saved sick time, but they do pay out saved vacation time. This is a $4,000 issue for us. Her HR department has been pretty bad about communicating their policies and thatís why I want to fight this. I honestly donít even think they know what their policies are. When they sent my wife the parental leave policy, the part about paid leave during FMLA says:
Her company policy said: ďEmployees may choose or employers may require use of accrued paid leave while taking FML. In order to use paid leave for FML, employees must comply with the employerís normal paid leave policies.Ē
That line is essentially taken directly from the Department of Laborís website on FMLA. It doesnít actually outline an actual procedure specific to their company.†

My thought is thisÖThe company doesnít actually have a policy outlining using sick time during FMLA, but the HR people just go by what they have always done and no one has ever had 1 full month of sick time saved up that they wanted to use all at once. Considering the fact that she was allowed to use sick time for the first two weeks of FMLA and to supplement during the short-term disability portion of FMLA, the policy would have to specifically ban using sick time after disability, and not just say that you canít use sick time during FMLA at all.†

Anyway, Iím just looking for thoughts from people that may be familiar with FMLA and HR policies and law. Any help on how to pursue this is greatly appreciated. Iíll do my best to keep this post updated. †

P.S. Sorry for writing a whole book. Iíll give green to everyone who replies and says they read this whole post!

Read this document from DOL that explains FMLA: https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/employeeguide.pdf

The following on Page 6 is what it says about use of sick leave. The statement you quoted from your employer document seems paraphrased from here. In any case, as long you followed normal procedure for taking sick leave, you should be in the good.
Page 6 said: FMLA leave is unpaid leave. However, if you have sick time, vacation time, personal time, etc., saved up with your employer, you may use that leave time, along with your FMLA leave so that you continue to get paid. In order to use such leave, you must follow your employerís normal leave rules such as submitting a leave form or providing advance notice. Even if you donít want to use your paid leave, your employer can require you to use it during your FMLA leave.

ETA: Perhaps, the employers argument is that she cannot use sick leave since "she is not sick" (your OP said: "You can't use sick time during this 4 weeks except for doctor's appointments). If so, see Page 4 of the document linked above. It clearly lists pregnancy (without any qualifications) as a health condition qualifying for FMLA leave.
Page 4 said: The most common serious health conditions that qualify for FMLA leave are:
4) pregnancy (including prenatal medical appointments, incapacity due to morning sickness, and medically required bed rest).




Once you give birth (as stated has occurred per the OP) , you are no longer pregnant and as such that aspect you point to no longer applies.
†††

rated:
This might vary state to state, company to company, but everywhere I have worked has not considered sick time as "accrued paid leave". The difference being if I quit with 3 weeks of vacation and 1 week of sick time, I was paid out for vacation but never for sick time.

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Czechmeout said:   This might vary state to state, company to company, but everywhere I have worked has not considered sick time as "accrued paid leave". The difference being if I quit with 3 weeks of vacation and 1 week of sick time, I was paid out for vacation but never for sick time.
††

Location dependent.†

I get 4 weeks paid vacation and 1 week sick a year. If I quit or get fired I get paid for zip. And it's legal in my locale.


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Asking your doctor to be unethical is really unethical. Sick time is for being sick, and your wife is healthy.

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EradicateSpam said:   Asking your doctor to be unethical is really unethical. Sick time is for being sick, and your wife is healthy.
Breast feeding... every two hours... saggy... stretch marks.... ugh, no thank you!

If I worked there, I'd be happy to do a little extra work to allow her to stay home.

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My husband recently experienced a long illness so I did FMLA paperwork with my employer. I get 10 paid "family sick leave" days per year that don't rollover. I was instructed to use those first. I have loads of paid sick leave for myself if I were sick, but wasn't allowed to use that for his illness (makes sense), so I then used vacation time. Had I been the sick one, I'd have had tons of paid sick leave to use BEFORE tapping into my vacation time. I don't understand how your wife would be instructed to use vacation time over sick leave for this...

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glendacc said:   My husband recently experienced a long illness so I did FMLA paperwork with my employer. I get 10 paid "family sick leave" days per year that don't rollover. I was instructed to use those first. I have loads of paid sick leave for myself if I were sick, but wasn't allowed to use that for his illness (makes sense), so I then used vacation time. Had I been the sick one, I'd have had tons of paid sick leave to use BEFORE tapping into my vacation time. I don't understand how your wife would be instructed to use vacation time over sick leave for this..
because if she is not sick and simply wishes to bond with her new child, then sick leave is not appropriate to use.††

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For the federal government sick leave is only for when you are sick. In our handbook the example is it can only be used for the recovery period certified by physician which is normally 6-8 weeks. Based on the info you provided after the paid parental leave your wife is 4 days short of 8 weeks. Therefore, she is likely no longer sick/recovering by then and at this point it is more about child bonding than sick leave so I don't think the use of sick leave is valid.

Another thing. †You cite FMLA and say this is medical leave and should be valid. †FMLA is just the name of the act (Family and Medical Leave Act) and covers more than just medical and includes family leave for things such as adoptions. †You seem to imply that the word medical in FMLA allows you to use sick leave for it. †Are you saying sick leave is also justified for adoptions as well then?

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Going through a similar scenario with my wife and her employer. She's due Dec 28, and the doc is "requiring" 30 days of bed rest because my wife commutes over an hour each way, via train (doc doesn't want her too far or some shit). So that puts her at Nov 28 to start STD (and I guess FMLA kicks in here too? doesn't matter really). Prior to Nov 28, she's going to use the remainder of her vacation days to put her at a Nov 4th end date. Then, since we're in NY, she'll have 6 or 8 weeks (depending on birth type) of paid leave. Luckily, since she's been at her company for more than 5 years, she gets 100% of her salary via STD. We decided not to fight the uphill battle of using sick days. She's still strongly considering going back either part time or full time, depending on how much child care works out to be. If not, she'll just tell her employer she's done toward the end of the 6 weeks. I don't see this as unethical really, because there is a strong possibility she will be going back to work after maternity leave. If she had zero intent, then that'd be another story.

Just my two cents.

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Great points! Thanks everyone.

Gonzo and Snezz - I am not trying to argue with you, just trying to get a better understanding of your point, so please don't take it as me disagreeing.

I am still waiting to get the handbook from my wife's employer, so this is all hypothetical at the moment. Suppose the handbook is vague and allows for taking sick time for a personal illness or to care for a family member. Would you conclude that the last 4 weeks within FMLA fall under caring for a family member? Suppose the handbook is less vague and allows for taking sick time for a personal illness or to care for a family member with an illness. Would the fact that they allowed sick time at the beginning of the postpartum period mean that they should allow it at the end? Our child was born healthy, so the day we were discharged from the hospital, no one was technically sick, yet she still took 10 sick days (3 in the hospital, 7 out). Does the period she was sick technically end the moment that short-term disability runs out? Since FMLA is 12 weeks and short-term disability is only 4 weeks, does the employer have to specifically state that one part of maternity FMLA (the part before disability runs out) is treated differently than another part of maternity FMLA (the part after disability)? Is there a requirement to take these things in a particular order? Could she have taken 6 weeks of sick leave, then 4 weeks of disability?

I guess my main question is, since all her time off falls within FMLA, how exactly does her employer make a distinction between when during that period she or her family member is considered sick?

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I'm just thinking about when I've done my FMLA forms (two times for three children). †I remember that the doctor would fill in a date that I'd be approved for work (6 weeks was the standard) and he said it was standard to write something along the lines of "6 additional weeks of bonding time". †My workplace took this without question. †I was about 13 weeks with my first two and 11 with my 3rd without issue.

I do remember that my employer required that I exhaust all sick leave before using any annual leave and then any annual before taking any unpaid time off. †I preferred not to come back to work with zero sick and zero annual in the 'bank', but that was the policy.

I'm no HR expert, but I really don't understand how they can limit how long she can use her sick leave in maternity leave. †

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FMLA isn't really about sick time or disability. It is about being able to leave work for a while to deal with illness/disability, and have your job (or equivalent) there when you get back.
It makes sense that STD should be at the start, because the mother is recovering from a significant medical procedure (even bigger if c-section or complications).

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seankovacs said:   Nothing to add really. Know someone of equal shitty taste, probably worse. Hired into a new department in the same company 2 months before birth (they obviously knew she was prego). Complains and whines the whole first month (baby related issues to them, "just didn't want to go in the office that day" to us) , to which they allowed her for the most part all work at home and a lot of time off for baby/mommy appts. She tells us she plans on leaving after the baby. Needs bed rest for 3 weeks prior to birth - so no work, all paid. Leaves company after all paid stuff is exhausted (like 3 months - very nice company). Department for sure will look at women differently in the future.

Seriously women, get your crap together. You seriously screw over your gender's success in the work place.

Sorry you had to deal with this one women.† But to paint all women with this brush is discriminatory.† Do not assume we are all the same.†

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Time †to find a new job, try Deloitte

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EradicateSpam said:   Asking your doctor to be unethical is really unethical. Sick time is for being sick, and your wife is healthy.

††

Hey!† WTF?† This wouldn't be FWF if someone (actually lots of someones) didn't suggest the Dr to breach their ethics (and potentially lose THEIR license) and commit some insurance fraud along the way.† (Insurance fraud is a quite common solution to most problems @ FWF as of late.)



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EradicateSpam said:   Asking your doctor to be unethical is really unethical. Sick time is for being sick, and your wife is healthy.
She's healthy now but she hasn't delivered the baby yet. So we have no idea if she or the baby will be sick during the time that they want to use sick leave. Postpartum depression has an incidence of as much as 20% and there are plenty of other issues that could occur to the mother or the baby during or after delivery.

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taylor0987 said:   EradicateSpam said:   Asking your doctor to be unethical is really unethical. Sick time is for being sick, and your wife is healthy.
She's healthy now but she hasn't delivered the baby yet. So we have no idea if she or the baby will be sick during the time that they want to use sick leave. Postpartum depression has an incidence of as much as 20% and there are plenty of other issues that could occur to the mother or the baby during or after delivery.



So now you want a Dr to write a note based on what COULD happen? Good luck with that!

Who is your Dr? I don't want to risk my healthcare to a quack who will do what you keep on advocating.

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I don't think it would be too difficult to convince a doctor that you aren't feeling well enough to work a few weeks after giving birth.

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Mickie3 said:   
taylor0987 said:   
EradicateSpam said:   Asking your doctor to be unethical is really unethical. Sick time is for being sick, and your wife is healthy.
She's healthy now but she hasn't delivered the baby yet. So we have no idea if she or the baby will be sick during the time that they want to use sick leave. Postpartum depression has an incidence of as much as 20% and there are plenty of other issues that could occur to the mother or the baby during or after delivery.



So now you want a Dr to write a note based on what COULD happen? Good luck with that!

Who is your Dr? I don't want to risk my healthcare to a quack who will do what you keep on advocating.

That is a bizarre interpretation of what I said. I would have the doctor write the note AT THE TIME that he diagnosed the mother or baby as being ill. I never suggested that the note be written today.

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I think your best bet is to determine the policy for the 2 week parental leave which sounds like child bonding leave. If that can be pushed back then you may have a case if you can get your doctor to certify a 6-8 week recovery period giving you the possibility to use the sick leave in between the short term disability ending and the parental leave starting.

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Snezz said:   I think your best bet is to determine the policy for the 2 week parental leave which sounds like child bonding leave. If that can be pushed back then you may have a case if you can get your doctor to certify a 6-8 week recovery period giving you the possibility to use the sick leave in between the short term disability ending and the parental leave starting.
I think this might make the most sense since the pediatrician has been bringing us back in more than normal to check our son's weight, so it wouldn't be dishonest to ask for a doctor's note saying that my wife needs to feed him every 2 hours, which would preclude her from working.

Unfortunately, she is dreading the phone calls with HR, so she's been putting it off. She says she'll call today if the baby cooperates, so I'll update with any new information.

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Doctor's note saying your wife is suffering from .... and needs X time off. Any OBGYN will write that in a heartbeat for preggers (and post-preggers)

Skipping 44 Messages...
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Glitch99 said:   
bindercarrie said:   
FLSte said:   
bindercarrie said:   Let me add, as an employer....

I really get cranky when people approach me with a holier-than-art-thou sense of entitlement. Sick pay is a benefit for when you're sick:† Otherwise it would be called PTO or vacation. † It's expensive for the employer to offer it, and they do it so people have something to fall back on when they're truly sick.† When employees abuse the system, they potentially ruin the benefit for people who don't abuse the system. Just because your wife has a large sick balance, does not mean she "deserves," has "earned," or is "entitled" to the benefit, unless she can meet the requirements to use it.† I've always thought it's odd to show people this huge balance available - they look at it like you're doing, and they assume it's "mine dammit!"

In the real world, it's generally employees like your wife who create new and more rigid rules for the rest of the employees.

But, if your employer hasn't learned this lesson yet, and doesn't have it in writing, I would also say it might be time for them to learn it the hard way.


As an employer wouldn't you want to compensate your employees appropriately based on their contribution to your company?

If employee A and employee B both get paid the same and the the same quantity/quality of work, then one month employee A takes 10 days of sick time, both employees receive the same compensation even though employee A only did ~66% of the work employee B did.

"Un-cashout-able" sick time is a punishment on productive employees who do not get sick much and do not cheat the system.


A great argument for PTO.†† When you have a separate sick benefit, there will be plenty of people abuse the system by taking time off when they're not sick.†† Even with 100% compliant and authorized use, not everyone is equally healthy.† Hence, it's almost impossible for a separate sick benefit to be "fair".† One of the many reasons I prefer PTO.


† But on the other hand, separate sick days is necessary if you wan to encourage people to take days off when they aren't feeling well, as opposed them being motivated to work through the illness so they can save the time off for when they'd rather be out on the boat....

††
Actually, most of the studies I've come across refute that theory.† Whether they'll take a day off or not for being sick is more dependent on their overall "work ethic" and philosophy.†† For example, we all know the two extremes:† Person who's genuinely ill but comes to work anyway, and person who's a hypochondriac and misses work for being sick at every opportunity.†† So long as you offer some type of reasonable time off benefit, you won't sway many people one way or the other:† They'll still do what their work ethic drives them to do, regardless of if it's PTO or separate sick day.†

The argument for people not staying home when they're sick is more relevant for a company where no time off is offered at all.

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