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rated:
Hey folks, 

Had a quick question the technicalities of "qualified" FMLA leave. Spouse just had a pre-term C-Section delivery. It's going to require a good amount of time being at the hospital for care for her for the next few months, so we're likely going to need the full amount of FMLA leave. 

When notifying her employer's HR about taking leave, they sent us a form to have filled out by her doctor. The doctor filled it out as expected with actual answers, such as "She will need 8-weeks to recover" since it was a question reflecting upon her recovery from the surgery. The question makes no reference to actually caring for the child, parenting, bonding, etc... Which is definitely going to be needed for a pre-term baby. After filing out and turning it in to HR their response was: "Please note that the FMLA coverage will be 8 weeks from the date of leave began".

Based on the Department of Labor website, I cannot find a single part where it says that an employer can only approve you for a partial FMLA leave. No where. To me, it says the options are either "Yes" or "No" for being qualified for leave. If you are qualified, you automatically get the 12 weeks to take at your leisure, at any time. See: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm

Am I mistaken here? It seems like their HR needs a lesson on the law that they should know better on.

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Dude you are making way too much out of this. In the end if your wife isn't happy with the employer she should leave bu... (more)

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Let it go for now.  You shouldn't be calling her employer beyond (maybe) calling them to tell them that she's been hospi... (more)

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rated:
FMLA is unpaid leave. Maybe they're giving 8 weeks of paid sick leave since the doctor note says 8 weeks to recover? If so, then maybe FMLA would start after that.

rated:
justignoredem said:   If you are qualified, you automatically get the 12 weeks to take at your leisure, at any time. See: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm
 


For newborn care, that is correct. For medical conditions, you only get leave while the condition exists (from your link: "The protections of FMLA will not, however, cover situations where the reason for leave no longer exists,") and your employer can require medical certification of that fact.

It sounds like they're considering it leave for a "serious health condition" (recovering from childbirth), rather than to care for the newborn as you'd intended. Probably just SOP to grant leave for the amount of time the doctor wrote on the form.

Should be a simple fix, have her write back and politely say "I am requesting the full 12 weeks of FMLA leave to care for my newborn." Don't try to give HR a lesson in the law, there's no indication that they are acting in bad faith.

rated:
The wording quoted is strange. Could read either as "will begin 8 weeks after leave start" or "will end 8 weeks after leave start."  I think i was reading it wrong and Dover is probably reading it the way the HR person meant.

rated:
Bend3r said:   FMLA is unpaid leave. Maybe they're giving 8 weeks of paid sick leave since the doctor note says 8 weeks to recover? If so, then maybe FMLA would start after that.
  

This is not true, FMLA is an approved absence from work, it doesn't matter if it is paid or unpaid. There Error is in the doctors wording. 

I have had a ton of experience with this on both sides (wife had three C sections) and I managed HR for 7 years. FMLA is up to 12 weeks, you dont automatically get the whole 12. If the doctor says 8, hr will only approve 8. 

Our doctors (and I advise) writing it into a time frame "...will be out 8-12 weeks.." This is what gets you up to the 12 weeks. 

This ca be fixed by simply having the doc amend the letter/paperwork.

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doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   If you are qualified, you automatically get the 12 weeks to take at your leisure, at any time. See: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm 

For newborn care, that is correct. For medical conditions, you only get leave while the condition exists (from your link: "The protections of FMLA will not, however, cover situations where the reason for leave no longer exists,") and your employer can require medical certification of that fact.

It sounds like they're considering it leave for a "serious health condition" (recovering from childbirth), rather than to care for the newborn as you'd intended. Probably just SOP to grant leave for the amount of time the doctor wrote on the form.

Should be a simple fix, have her write back and politely say "I am requesting the full 12 weeks of FMLA leave to care for my newborn." Don't try to give HR a lesson in the law, there's no indication that they are acting in bad faith.

  
Agreed, but some HR dept will still require the doc to ask for the 12 weeks in their paperwork (which is acceptable under FMLA)

rated:
phil4444 said:   
Bend3r said:   FMLA is unpaid leave. Maybe they're giving 8 weeks of paid sick leave since the doctor note says 8 weeks to recover? If so, then maybe FMLA would start after that.
  

This is not true, FMLA is an approved absence from work, it doesn't matter if it is paid or unpaid. There Error is in the doctors wording. 

  I meant it only guarantees unpaid.  Not sure what any benefit of using it concurrently with other leave is, though I guess it would have some at places that hassle/ disallow people from actually scheduling their paid leave.  No experience here though.  (Except a relative where concurrent use they were allowed a longer time.  Example X% was PTO, 100-X% counted to FMLA).  If OP has "sick leave", wouldn't "medically necessary" recouperation be covered by that for those 8 weeks without even needing to touch the FMLA leave?

My employer also switched policies a couple years ago.  Used to require all available paid personal leave was "used up" before FMLA leave could be used and now allows scheduling unpaid FMLA leave and "keeping" paid leave for actual vacation/leave usage at a later date.

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During my last maternity leave (2014) my doctor filled out how long I needed for recovery (6 weeks).  I then did not fill in the rest until I sat down in a meeting with the FMLA coordinator.  She had me then fill in that I'd be taking an additional 6 weeks "bonding time".  I was able to use my "sick leave" for any of the 12 weeks.

Now just recently, I had a man in my department taking FMLA for paternity leave.  He is only able to take 10 days of 'sick leave' and any more time has to be taken in 'annual leave' or LWOP.  (We are limited to 10 days per calendar year for 'family sick leave')...apparently dads don't get to take bonding time under sick.  

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doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   If you are qualified, you automatically get the 12 weeks to take at your leisure, at any time. See: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm 

For newborn care, that is correct. For medical conditions, you only get leave while the condition exists (from your link: "The protections of FMLA will not, however, cover situations where the reason for leave no longer exists,") and your employer can require medical certification of that fact.

It sounds like they're considering it leave for a "serious health condition" (recovering from childbirth), rather than to care for the newborn as you'd intended. Probably just SOP to grant leave for the amount of time the doctor wrote on the form.

Should be a simple fix, have her write back and politely say "I am requesting the full 12 weeks of FMLA leave to care for my newborn." Don't try to give HR a lesson in the law, there's no indication that they are acting in bad faith.

  
I see - Thank you - That definitely sounds like the likely culprit. Though it's incredibly stupid on their part, I figured newborn care would kind of be a dead give away considering it's the birth of a child. 

rated:
brooke789 said:   During my last maternity leave (2014) my doctor filled out how long I needed for recovery (6 weeks).  I then did not fill in the rest until I sat down in a meeting with the FMLA coordinator.  She had me then fill in that I'd be taking an additional 6 weeks "bonding time".  I was able to use my "sick leave" for any of the 12 weeks.

Now just recently, I had a man in my department taking FMLA for paternity leave.  He is only able to take 10 days of 'sick leave' and any more time has to be taken in 'annual leave' or LWOP.  (We are limited to 10 days per calendar year for 'family sick leave')...apparently dads don't get to take bonding time under sick.  

 
Might be a factor why men tend to get paid higher? 

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Keep in mind that, for purposes of FMLA, your wife's leave will be divided between the time needed for medical purposes (recovery from childbirth) and THEN the time needed for baby bonding.

For natural births, most 12-week leave periods for mothers are broken down as 6 weeks medical (note from doctor) + 6 weeks baby bonding immediately following.

C-section deliveries are allotted additional time to recover vs. natural births, hence the doctor is following accepted practices of requiring 8 weeks of medical leave instead of 6.

Again, just keep in mind that the 6 weeks of baby-bonding (which, unlike the medical leave portion, the husband is also entitled to) is treated as a separate FMLA leave after the time needed for medical recovery.

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letsspendlotsofmoney said:   
brooke789 said:   During my last maternity leave (2014) my doctor filled out how long I needed for recovery (6 weeks).  I then did not fill in the rest until I sat down in a meeting with the FMLA coordinator.  She had me then fill in that I'd be taking an additional 6 weeks "bonding time".  I was able to use my "sick leave" for any of the 12 weeks.

Now just recently, I had a man in my department taking FMLA for paternity leave.  He is only able to take 10 days of 'sick leave' and any more time has to be taken in 'annual leave' or LWOP.  (We are limited to 10 days per calendar year for 'family sick leave')...apparently dads don't get to take bonding time under sick.  

 
Might be a factor why men tend to get paid higher? 

  because they get shorted on paternity leave?

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
letsspendlotsofmoney said:   
brooke789 said:   During my last maternity leave (2014) my doctor filled out how long I needed for recovery (6 weeks).  I then did not fill in the rest until I sat down in a meeting with the FMLA coordinator.  She had me then fill in that I'd be taking an additional 6 weeks "bonding time".  I was able to use my "sick leave" for any of the 12 weeks.

Now just recently, I had a man in my department taking FMLA for paternity leave.  He is only able to take 10 days of 'sick leave' and any more time has to be taken in 'annual leave' or LWOP.  (We are limited to 10 days per calendar year for 'family sick leave')...apparently dads don't get to take bonding time under sick.  

 
Might be a factor why men tend to get paid higher? 

  because they get shorted on paternity leave?

  This was the first man we've had take paternity leave in our department so everyone was totally shocked that he was only able to take 10 days.  He didn't want to take the full 12 and have no vacation time later so he opened to come back after his two weeks.  I'm really surprised it's legal.

rated:
I will say it this way, the legal advice our office has gotten is that if the sick time is there, then they have to be able to take it if a doc has signed the papers. Bonding time is a gray area, but if it is to care for the spouse after a C section, it would qualify. 

If denied I am advised that the party can sue and win significant damages without much effort. 

my .02 
 

rated:
brooke789 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
letsspendlotsofmoney said:   
brooke789 said:   During my last maternity leave (2014) my doctor filled out how long I needed for recovery (6 weeks).  I then did not fill in the rest until I sat down in a meeting with the FMLA coordinator.  She had me then fill in that I'd be taking an additional 6 weeks "bonding time".  I was able to use my "sick leave" for any of the 12 weeks.

Now just recently, I had a man in my department taking FMLA for paternity leave.  He is only able to take 10 days of 'sick leave' and any more time has to be taken in 'annual leave' or LWOP.  (We are limited to 10 days per calendar year for 'family sick leave')...apparently dads don't get to take bonding time under sick.  

 
Might be a factor why men tend to get paid higher? 

  because they get shorted on paternity leave?

  This was the first man we've had take paternity leave in our department so everyone was totally shocked that he was only able to take 10 days.  He didn't want to take the full 12 and have no vacation time later so he opened to come back after his two weeks.  I'm really surprised it's legal.

What's surprising?

I mean, if he wanted to take up to 12 weeks unpaid, he can do it. Doesn't sound like they stopped him, sounds like he stopped him. 

rated:
brooke789 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
letsspendlotsofmoney said:   
brooke789 said:   During my last maternity leave (2014) my doctor filled out how long I needed for recovery (6 weeks).  I then did not fill in the rest until I sat down in a meeting with the FMLA coordinator.  She had me then fill in that I'd be taking an additional 6 weeks "bonding time".  I was able to use my "sick leave" for any of the 12 weeks.

Now just recently, I had a man in my department taking FMLA for paternity leave.  He is only able to take 10 days of 'sick leave' and any more time has to be taken in 'annual leave' or LWOP.  (We are limited to 10 days per calendar year for 'family sick leave')...apparently dads don't get to take bonding time under sick.  

 
Might be a factor why men tend to get paid higher? 

  because they get shorted on paternity leave?

  This was the first man we've had take paternity leave in our department so everyone was totally shocked that he was only able to take 10 days.  He didn't want to take the full 12 and have no vacation time later so he opened to come back after his two weeks.  I'm really surprised it's legal.

  
To clarify, your paid sick leave was unlimited during your FMLA leave?

rated:
doveroftke said:   
brooke789 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
letsspendlotsofmoney said:   
brooke789 said:   During my last maternity leave (2014) my doctor filled out how long I needed for recovery (6 weeks).  I then did not fill in the rest until I sat down in a meeting with the FMLA coordinator.  She had me then fill in that I'd be taking an additional 6 weeks "bonding time".  I was able to use my "sick leave" for any of the 12 weeks.

Now just recently, I had a man in my department taking FMLA for paternity leave.  He is only able to take 10 days of 'sick leave' and any more time has to be taken in 'annual leave' or LWOP.  (We are limited to 10 days per calendar year for 'family sick leave')...apparently dads don't get to take bonding time under sick.  

 
Might be a factor why men tend to get paid higher? 

  because they get shorted on paternity leave?

  This was the first man we've had take paternity leave in our department so everyone was totally shocked that he was only able to take 10 days.  He didn't want to take the full 12 and have no vacation time later so he opened to come back after his two weeks.  I'm really surprised it's legal.

  
To clarify, your paid sick leave was unlimited during your FMLA leave?

  For a woman giving birth (not sure if different for adoption, etc) I was able to take my entire FMLA leave as paid using my 'sick leave'.  I could take 12 weeks of sick leave.  However a father could only take 10 days of 'sick leave'. 

rated:
brooke789 said:     For a woman giving birth (not sure if different for adoption, etc) I was able to take my entire FMLA leave as paid using my 'sick leave'.  I could take 12 weeks of sick leave.  However a father could only take 10 days of 'sick leave'. 
  
I don't think that's fair, but one could view in a more positive light by saying that your company generously allows women 12 weeks of paid postpartum leave and men 2 weeks. Most companies limit sick time much more than that.

rated:
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   If you are qualified, you automatically get the 12 weeks to take at your leisure, at any time. See: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm

For newborn care, that is correct. For medical conditions, you only get leave while the condition exists (from your link: "The protections of FMLA will not, however, cover situations where the reason for leave no longer exists,") and your employer can require medical certification of that fact.

It sounds like they're considering it leave for a "serious health condition" (recovering from childbirth), rather than to care for the newborn as you'd intended. Probably just SOP to grant leave for the amount of time the doctor wrote on the form.

Should be a simple fix, have her write back and politely say "I am requesting the full 12 weeks of FMLA leave to care for my newborn." Don't try to give HR a lesson in the law, there's no indication that they are acting in bad faith.

  
Latest Email from HR now wants me to fill out a new form called "Family Member’s Serious Health Condition”. and they want the pediatrician to fill it out.... This isn't about a serious health condition, it's simply bonding with the child as much as possible while they are stuck in an incubator for the next 3 months. We don't even have a pediatrician and nor can she see one since she is stuck.

Have any tips on how to respond other than saying "You're a complete moron"?

rated:
justignoredem said:    
Latest Email from HR now wants me to fill out a new form called "Family Member’s Serious Health Condition”. and they want the pediatrician to fill it out.... This isn't about a serious health condition, it's simply bonding with the child as much as possible while they are stuck in an incubator for the next 3 months. We don't even have a pediatrician and nor can she see one since she is stuck.

Have any tips on how to respond other than saying "You're a complete moron"?
 


It's bogus that they're making this difficult for you, as if you don't already have enough on your plate. Remember, HR exists to serve the company, not the employee.

How about: "Do you have a more streamlined form for the newborn care FMLA reason? I would be happy to ask for a letter from the attending physician to certify the birth."

Otherwise, just get the form filled out by the OB or hospital resident. You can have them write N/A in all the fields which don't apply to the situation. Doctors have all seen this form, it's not that big a deal.

rated:
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:    
Latest Email from HR now wants me to fill out a new form called "Family Member’s Serious Health Condition”. and they want the pediatrician to fill it out.... This isn't about a serious health condition, it's simply bonding with the child as much as possible while they are stuck in an incubator for the next 3 months. We don't even have a pediatrician and nor can she see one since she is stuck.

Have any tips on how to respond other than saying "You're a complete moron"?


It's bogus that they're making this difficult for you, as if you don't already have enough on your plate. Remember, HR exists to serve the company, not the employee.

How about: "Do you have a more streamlined form for the newborn care FMLA reason? I would be happy to ask for a letter from the attending physician to certify the birth."

Otherwise, just get the form filled out by the OB or hospital resident. You can have them write N/A in all the fields which don't apply to the situation. Doctors have all seen this form, it's not that big a deal.

I agree, and to be honest - I don't want to bend over and play to their little stupid games.

For me to fill out their form would be declaring that there is a "Serious medical condition", when in fact that isn't true - nor is it the reason for taking leave. We want to take leave to bond with the newborn baby. That's it.  For me to fill out anything further would be a lie. 

I'd really rather not let them have their way and would rather stick it to them. I don't have the time of day to try and contact doctors, fax forms to the doc, pick up the filled out form, and then fax it to them, etc...  I'm thinking more along the lines of "We are taking the remainder of the FMLA leave to bond with the pre-term newborn. No documentation or doctor evidence is necessary, and any further hesitation or non-approval of this leave will result in us contacting the Department of Labor and filing a complaint"

Thoughts? I'm really, totally, completely sick and fed up with this. And I truly don't have time for their games of getting forms filled out by doctors.

rated:
justignoredem said:   "We are taking the remainder of the FMLA leave to bond with the pre-term newborn. No documentation or doctor evidence is necessary, and any further hesitation or non-approval of this leave will result in us contacting the Department of Labor and filing a complaint"

Thoughts? I'm really, totally, completely sick and fed up with this. And I truly don't have time for their games of getting forms filled out by doctors.

  
I forgot that she's already submitted the form for the birth. You're right, that should be enough.

As a rule, never threaten to go to a regulator/higher authority. It shows bad-faith and will only serve to piss them off, not get resolution. When you get to the point that you need to escalate, just do so.

You can say what you wrote much more politely: "This form is not applicable to the situation. I am electing FMLA for 12 weeks to care for a newborn and I have already submitted documentation of the birth which should be sufficient proof of qualification. Please approve 12 weeks as requested." If they don't comply, then call the DOL.

ETA: Also worth an attempt to appeal to their humanity. "The medical circumstances are quite stressful and we really appreciate your help resolving this efficiently so we can focus on our family."

rated:
Maybe I am missing something. OP is eligible for 12 weeks FMLA. Whether she can use sick leave to get paid during that is the question---documentation of medical requirement is needed for using sick leave. So far, OP has submitted medical documentation for 8 weeks.

If they want four more weeks to be covered by sick leave, they need medical documentation (caring for a "sick" family member usually qualifies). That is what the second form HR wants filled out for. OP can choose to not use sick leave for that 4-week period but still use FMLA (unpaid or PTO if available) for "bonding".

rated:
fwuser12 said:   Maybe I am missing something. OP is eligible for 12 weeks FMLA. Whether she can use sick leave to get paid during that is the question---documentation of medical requirement is needed for using sick leave. So far, OP has submitted medical documentation for 8 weeks.

If they want four more weeks to be covered by sick leave, they need medical documentation (caring for a "sick" family member usually qualifies). That is what the second form HR wants filled out for. OP can choose to not use sick leave for that 4-week period but still use FMLA (unpaid or PTO if available) for "bonding".

  
Just for clarification:

I don't want sick leave qualification. That was a side conversation with other users. I don't believe my wife even gets sick leave I believe it's all just PTO.

All we want 4 more weeks for is FMLA coverage that her job is safe. That's it. Nothing more. The HR rep is denying that we have 12-weeks of qualified FMLA and is saying I only have 8-weeks of approved FMLA. Whether that is true (or legal) I am not sure.

rated:
justignoredem said:   The HR rep is denying that we have 12-weeks of qualified FMLA and is saying I only have 8-weeks of approved FMLA. Whether that is true (or legal) I am not sure.
  
Has she actually denied it or just hasn't granted it? There's a big difference... There are penalties for wrongfully denying FMLA leave, not for being difficult with the paperwork (until you reach some theoretical threshold of 'constructive denial', but you're not there yet).

rated:
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   The HR rep is denying that we have 12-weeks of qualified FMLA and is saying I only have 8-weeks of approved FMLA. Whether that is true (or legal) I am not sure.
  
Has she actually denied it or just hasn't granted it? There's a big difference... There are penalties for wrongfully denying FMLA leave, not for being difficult with the paperwork (until you reach some theoretical threshold of 'constructive denial', but you're not there yet).

  
Is Not giving approval of my 12 weeks and responding only with "You're approved for 8 weeks" the same as denial? Or is this some technical BS where it's not an approval nor a denial heh.

Because that's basically what I take of it. Essentially, "You're approved for 8 weeks based on the doctors note. If you want more time you need another doctor's note" - and that is after I have already stated we are going to be taking the full 12 weeks.

rated:
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   The HR rep is denying that we have 12-weeks of qualified FMLA and is saying I only have 8-weeks of approved FMLA. Whether that is true (or legal) I am not sure.
  
Has she actually denied it or just hasn't granted it? There's a big difference... There are penalties for wrongfully denying FMLA leave, not for being difficult with the paperwork (until you reach some theoretical threshold of 'constructive denial', but you're not there yet).

  
Is Not giving approval of my 12 weeks and responding only with "You're approved for 8 weeks" the same as denial? Or is this some technical BS where it's not an approval nor a denial heh.

Because that's basically what I take of it. Essentially, "You're approved for 8 weeks based on the doctors note. If you want more time you need another doctor's note" - and that is after I have already stated we are going to be taking the full 12 weeks.

  This could be a simple communication issue. Let HR know clearly that you do not need sick leave pay for those 4-weeks. You simply need those 4-weeks as FMLA for bonding will be LWOP (if that is what you want).

rated:
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   The HR rep is denying that we have 12-weeks of qualified FMLA and is saying I only have 8-weeks of approved FMLA. Whether that is true (or legal) I am not sure.
  
Has she actually denied it or just hasn't granted it? There's a big difference... There are penalties for wrongfully denying FMLA leave, not for being difficult with the paperwork (until you reach some theoretical threshold of 'constructive denial', but you're not there yet).

  
Is Not giving approval of my 12 weeks and responding only with "You're approved for 8 weeks" the same as denial? Or is this some technical BS where it's not an approval nor a denial heh.

Because that's basically what I take of it. Essentially, "You're approved for 8 weeks based on the doctors note. If you want more time you need another doctor's note" - and that is after I have already stated we are going to be taking the full 12 weeks.
 

  
The form you submitted was for 8 weeks, so that's what they processed. You may have intended it to be for 12 weeks, but that's not what they understood.

They haven't denied 12 weeks, it seems like they just haven't officially considered it. If they deny your request, it will come with an official denial letter.

rated:
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   The HR rep is denying that we have 12-weeks of qualified FMLA and is saying I only have 8-weeks of approved FMLA. Whether that is true (or legal) I am not sure.
  
Has she actually denied it or just hasn't granted it? There's a big difference... There are penalties for wrongfully denying FMLA leave, not for being difficult with the paperwork (until you reach some theoretical threshold of 'constructive denial', but you're not there yet).

  
Is Not giving approval of my 12 weeks and responding only with "You're approved for 8 weeks" the same as denial? Or is this some technical BS where it's not an approval nor a denial heh.

Because that's basically what I take of it. Essentially, "You're approved for 8 weeks based on the doctors note. If you want more time you need another doctor's note" - and that is after I have already stated we are going to be taking the full 12 weeks.

  
The form you submitted was for 8 weeks, so that's what they processed. You may have intended it to be for 12 weeks, but that's not what they understood.

They haven't denied 12 weeks, it seems like they just haven't officially considered it. If they deny your request, it will come with an official denial letter.

  
The problem that I have is with their form then.

The form doesn't ask Me what time I want to take. It simply has my name and signature. The rest is under the section for the "medical doctor" to fill out. And the "time" portion is simply a question of "How long do you estimate it will take to recover from this procedure?" At no point does it ask me (the employee taking the leave) how much time I am requesting, nor does it do anything such as ask about bonding time or time to take care of the child. 

I guess my point is, "Time to recover from procedure" != "How much time do you wish to take for FMLA?" the two are not the same. 

rated:
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   The HR rep is denying that we have 12-weeks of qualified FMLA and is saying I only have 8-weeks of approved FMLA. Whether that is true (or legal) I am not sure.
  
Has she actually denied it or just hasn't granted it? There's a big difference... There are penalties for wrongfully denying FMLA leave, not for being difficult with the paperwork (until you reach some theoretical threshold of 'constructive denial', but you're not there yet).

  
Is Not giving approval of my 12 weeks and responding only with "You're approved for 8 weeks" the same as denial? Or is this some technical BS where it's not an approval nor a denial heh.

Because that's basically what I take of it. Essentially, "You're approved for 8 weeks based on the doctors note. If you want more time you need another doctor's note" - and that is after I have already stated we are going to be taking the full 12 weeks.

  
The form you submitted was for 8 weeks, so that's what they processed. You may have intended it to be for 12 weeks, but that's not what they understood.

They haven't denied 12 weeks, it seems like they just haven't officially considered it. If they deny your request, it will come with an official denial letter.

  
The problem that I have is with their form then.

The form doesn't ask Me what time I want to take. It simply has my name and signature. The rest is under the section for the "medical doctor" to fill out. And the "time" portion is simply a question of "How long do you estimate it will take to recover from this procedure?" At no point does it ask me (the employee taking the leave) how much time I am requesting, nor does it do anything such as ask about bonding time or time to take care of the child. 

I guess my point is, "Time to recover from procedure" != "How much time do you wish to take for FMLA?" the two are not the same. 

  One of those times where walking into someone's office or picking up the phone is called for.

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justignoredem said:   
For me to fill out their form would be declaring that there is a "Serious medical condition", when in fact that isn't true - nor is it the reason for taking leave. We want to take leave to bond with the newborn baby. That's it.  For me to fill out anything further would be a lie. 

I'd really rather not let them have their way and would rather stick it to them. I don't have the time of day to try and contact doctors, fax forms to the doc, pick up the filled out form, and then fax it to them, etc...  I'm thinking more along the lines of "We are taking the remainder of the FMLA leave to bond with the pre-term newborn. No documentation or doctor evidence is necessary, and any further hesitation or non-approval of this leave will result in us contacting the Department of Labor and filing a complaint"

Thoughts? I'm really, totally, completely sick and fed up with this. And I truly don't have time for their games of getting forms filled out by doctors.

  
pregnancy is one of the serious health condition that qualifies for "up" to 12 weeks FMLA, not "automatic" 12 weeks, how long depends on doc's assessment although most docs would not hesitate to give out 12 weeks if the patient asks..... however your wife's doc certifies only 8 weeks, HR is correct in approving 8 weeks only, if you want to bond with a newborn for the next 4 weeks, that's considered caring for family member, so HR is correct in asking you to fill out another form to care for family member........by serious health condition it doesn't have to be life or death situation, caring for a newborn certainly qualifies under FMLA, especially if it's pre-term.....if I were you I would either ask your wife's doctor to amend to 12 weeks for her own recovery or have the baby's doctor to certify 4 weeks to care for the baby, if there is no pediatrician,  wife's doc can possibly certify

HR hands are tied as they have to follow the proper procedures especially in larger company they have to be fair to everybody, by law FMLA can only be approved for those days certified by a health professional, if you force your way and they fire her I am pretty sure in court you would lose

in your case HR is not making life difficult for you, even though you may think they are being unreasonable, or not being sympathetic to your situation.......I was pissed when my employer wanted my doc to fill out the company form, instead of accepting my doctor's own work excuse letter even though it contains virtually all the required information such as illness, duration, etc.... in the end clearer thinking prevails.....save your energy to fight if they dare to fire her even if she has complied with all the proper procedures and documentation requirements, you would have a much better winnable case

 

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fwuser12 said:   
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   The HR rep is denying that we have 12-weeks of qualified FMLA and is saying I only have 8-weeks of approved FMLA. Whether that is true (or legal) I am not sure.
  
Has she actually denied it or just hasn't granted it? There's a big difference... There are penalties for wrongfully denying FMLA leave, not for being difficult with the paperwork (until you reach some theoretical threshold of 'constructive denial', but you're not there yet).

  
Is Not giving approval of my 12 weeks and responding only with "You're approved for 8 weeks" the same as denial? Or is this some technical BS where it's not an approval nor a denial heh.

Because that's basically what I take of it. Essentially, "You're approved for 8 weeks based on the doctors note. If you want more time you need another doctor's note" - and that is after I have already stated we are going to be taking the full 12 weeks.

  
The form you submitted was for 8 weeks, so that's what they processed. You may have intended it to be for 12 weeks, but that's not what they understood.

They haven't denied 12 weeks, it seems like they just haven't officially considered it. If they deny your request, it will come with an official denial letter.

  
The problem that I have is with their form then.

The form doesn't ask Me what time I want to take. It simply has my name and signature. The rest is under the section for the "medical doctor" to fill out. And the "time" portion is simply a question of "How long do you estimate it will take to recover from this procedure?" At no point does it ask me (the employee taking the leave) how much time I am requesting, nor does it do anything such as ask about bonding time or time to take care of the child. 

I guess my point is, "Time to recover from procedure" != "How much time do you wish to take for FMLA?" the two are not the same. 

  One of those times where walking into someone's office or picking up the phone is called for.

  
Except the wife is on leave due to this abrupt (unplanned/early) event, so no one can walk into the office. However, I did pick up the phone today - even though I prefer documented email - and gave my stern point that I'm not putting up with their BS.

I hadn't seen doveroftke's reply before doing so, but I did give the notion that I would put in a complaint with the Department of Labor if they didn't start being reasonable in the most "non-offensive" way that I could.  And to be honest, I'm sure going through the pain of addressing the DoL can't be fun - so I'm sure the feeling is mutual that they would rather avoid it. So she said something to the tune of making an exception and setup an appointment call to discuss further with her manager on Monday... so we shall see. 

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You should like a real joy to work with.

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FMLA is requested and approved for specific reasons. You're requested and been approved for 8 weeks FMLA for a "sickness" and it's subsequent recovery based on the qualified professional's judgement. Just file another FMLA claim for "bonding" with a newborn child to begin directly after your recovery. Unless your company can make a sufficient claim that your wife's job is critical to the business, they need to approve the leave.

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Dude you are making way too much out of this. In the end if your wife isn't happy with the employer she should leave but they are doing nothing wrong. If you are upset that your doctor only put 8 weeks on the form and you wanted 12, then talk to the doctor about it and maybe they can change it.

My wife had a regular birth and the doctor said 6 weeks to recover. She wanted to take 12 weeks off and she did. There is no requirement for FMLA leave to be paid and most employers I've seen do not pay for this. She filed for unemployment benefits for the time she was off so she did get some pay but not her usual amount. That's just how it works in America, companies are under no obligation to pay for your time off as they do in many other countries. I do see SOME companies stepping up and offering to pay for bonding time off, but it's a very small minority from what I've seen.

rated:
justignoredem said:   
fwuser12 said:   
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
justignoredem said:   The HR rep is denying that we have 12-weeks of qualified FMLA and is saying I only have 8-weeks of approved FMLA. Whether that is true (or legal) I am not sure.
  
Has she actually denied it or just hasn't granted it? There's a big difference... There are penalties for wrongfully denying FMLA leave, not for being difficult with the paperwork (until you reach some theoretical threshold of 'constructive denial', but you're not there yet).

  
Is Not giving approval of my 12 weeks and responding only with "You're approved for 8 weeks" the same as denial? Or is this some technical BS where it's not an approval nor a denial heh.

Because that's basically what I take of it. Essentially, "You're approved for 8 weeks based on the doctors note. If you want more time you need another doctor's note" - and that is after I have already stated we are going to be taking the full 12 weeks.

  
The form you submitted was for 8 weeks, so that's what they processed. You may have intended it to be for 12 weeks, but that's not what they understood.

They haven't denied 12 weeks, it seems like they just haven't officially considered it. If they deny your request, it will come with an official denial letter.

  
The problem that I have is with their form then.

The form doesn't ask Me what time I want to take. It simply has my name and signature. The rest is under the section for the "medical doctor" to fill out. And the "time" portion is simply a question of "How long do you estimate it will take to recover from this procedure?" At no point does it ask me (the employee taking the leave) how much time I am requesting, nor does it do anything such as ask about bonding time or time to take care of the child. 

I guess my point is, "Time to recover from procedure" != "How much time do you wish to take for FMLA?" the two are not the same. 

  One of those times where walking into someone's office or picking up the phone is called for.

  
Except the wife is on leave due to this abrupt (unplanned/early) event, so no one can walk into the office. However, I did pick up the phone today - even though I prefer documented email - and gave my stern point that I'm not putting up with their BS.

I hadn't seen doveroftke's reply before doing so, but I did give the notion that I would put in a complaint with the Department of Labor if they didn't start being reasonable in the most "non-offensive" way that I could.  And to be honest, I'm sure going through the pain of addressing the DoL can't be fun - so I'm sure the feeling is mutual that they would rather avoid it. So she said something to the tune of making an exception and setup an appointment call to discuss further with her manager on Monday... so we shall see. 

Let it go for now.  You shouldn't be calling her employer beyond (maybe) calling them to tell them that she's been hospitalized due to complications with her pregnancy and to put her on leave until further notice.  Take the 8 weeks, and somewhere around week 6, she should contact HR and let them know that she's doing well but will be taking additional maternity leave of x weeks.  HR people don't like to be told what to do, or that they don't know what they're doing.  You are creating an awful environment for her eventual return to work by your involvement and threats.    

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There are other factors that should be considered here. How long has your wife been at this employer? How many hours did she work in the previous 12 months? How many employees work at the company? How many employees work at her location and within 75 miles of? What state are you located in (some states have additional provisions), Has she taken leave previously - even if workers compensation?

Additionally, if she meets the criteria for FMLA she is entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA for the birth of a child under current regulations. I'm assuming the documentation was submitted without informing or asking for the full 12 weeks and the employer is telling you that until the doctor clears her in 8 weeks she can not even return to work. I don't believe they are telling you that you cannot extend your FMLA (pending you are even eligible)

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