FMLA for the cycle

It seems to me that when you try to do the right thing, it’s not always best. For instance, I tried to let my bosses know early, that I would need my schedule changed next month (for the cycle). That it would probably be for 2 weeks, I would have to come in around 11am. This presented a new dilemma. I’ve never asked to have a set schedule. I was the only part timer who worked any hours given. And the majority of my hours were, for a good portion of the time, from 12:30pm to 6:30pm. So, i didn’t think that it would be an issue. They truly have been amazing with my surgeries though. They’ve always given me as much time as I needed to heal and even helped lift things when I returned to work after surgery.
My assistant manager makes up my schedule and the schedules for my group. The manager makes the schedule for the rest of the office.
Last week, I was asked again, what days I need to come in late. I told my assistant manager that I wasn’t sure, could I just come in after 11am for two or three weeks? Well, that wasn’t the right answer and she told me I need to take a leave. I was shocked and almost in tears, luckily, we were speaking over the phone. I had to put her on hold to help a customer, so my manager showed up to talk to me. He was very nice about it and explained FMLA to me. The Family and Medical Leave Act is a United States federal law requiring covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. (Of course, I will use my vacation or personal days and my 3 & 1/2 hours of sick time that I have left for this year, so I can get my normal pay. I’m only expecting to take maybe 2 or 3 days off when I need to). At first I was upset, I don’t want to take a leave, I want to work, it will keep my mind off the new medications like prednisone, lovenox, etc. Finally, I felt I had to tell him my plans of trying to have a child. I explained it was now or never and that it all depends on when AF arrives, (at that point, it hadn’t shown up yet). Then I apologized for giving him too much info. He agreed to two weeks of coming in at 11am. Maybe 2 & 1/2.
Our work policy for requesting days off in a certain month, is to let the assistant manager know by the 15th of the month before. My manager said I could even let him know by the 19th. So, I emailed the reproductive immunologist more questions, (What days do I need to come in? How many times? When will we do the transfer?) He forwarded the email to one of the nurses to answer. I appreciated it.
Today, the 12th, I was asked three times what days I needed to come in late. I was constantly checking my iPhone for the email. The nurse was kind enough to email the tentative schedule for our cycle. Naturally, it depends on when I get AF next month and how my body responds to the medications, as to when things happen and when I need to take off. We emailed back and forth during my lunch break. I have to give her a hug when I actually meet her. She has a lot of patience. I then sat there trying to figure out when transfer day may be, what days I’d have to drive the hour and fifteen minutes to get there at 9am and back by 11am, it really is not possible to know when you have to go in for monitoring, until you’re in the cycle. I had to give my assistant manager the answer. She called for another reason after my lunch break and then asked again. I had to wait for the other employee to leave, so I could speak freely. I finally told her I couldn’t tell what days I needed and asked if I could take a vacation the last week of the month. She declined my request because she is on vacation that week. Again, she asked what days. I kept telling her, I didn’t know and won’t know until the day before or maybe two days before. But I would need at least a day or two off around then. After, I don’t know how many times, I had to tell her. I told her that, legally, I shouldn’t have to explain what I was doing and why I needed the time off. But, I told her we were medically trying to get pregnant and I need to do this one last time and I guess I would have to find out more about FMLA. She said she’d give me the 11:30am to 4:30pm schedule Monday thru Friday and I’d have to work Saturday too to get all of my 30 hours in. I was happy with that! I was also texting with my manager, who had also asked via text if the nurse responded yet, and told him I was calling HR for the FMLA information.
HR was great. They informed me that if I were to conceive and have a baby, there is also parental leave along with FMLA coverage (very good to know). Then they told me infertility does qualify for FMLA coverage, I had to contact the Disability Management Services to file. I did. They were very nice and filed the claim for intermittent FMLA coverage right then over the phone. I just have to fill out the paperwork and have my doctor fill out his part. This means, if I need to take off I can. I just call the number they gave me and then call my managers and my job is safe. I let management know. About twenty minutes later, my manager calls to ask if I was doing a full leave (What!!?)? Apparently, they sent my assistant manager a notice via email that I was taking a leave of absence for the month of May. I quickly corrected that. I thanked them for letting me come in later and that I won’t use any days unless I absolutely have to.
At least now, I don’t have to worry about my job. I do love my job and the people I work with. I’m sure its very stressful to make the schedule for all of those people every month. We all have lives and plans.


About our last embryo

I have Endometriosis, Adenomyosis and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. I've had Lyme, Bell's Palsy and the Shingles before I was 25. I've done IVF twice, with and without immunosuppression and FET. I am married to my best friend and I am Infertile.
This entry was posted in endometriosis awareness, excision surgery for endometriosis, hope and love, infertility, infertility in the workplace, invisible illness, reproductive immunology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to FMLA for the cycle

  1. notwhenbutif says:

    What a nightmare! I’m glad there was a positive resolution to it all, but I’m sorry it took so much stress, struggle, and miscommunication to get there!

    Since I work at a university, my schedule is both flexible and completely inflexible at the same times. When I’m needed, I’m needed and nothing can proceed without me, but when I’m not, I’m free to set my own hours. I’ve kept trying to tell myself that this is one positive that has developed out of my most recent cycle delay. At least now we should (hopefully) be cycling in the summer when time is a *little* easier to come by.

    It is great that 1. you qualify for FMLA even as a part-timer, 2. you could get FMLA for fertility treatment, and 3. that you have a separate pot of family leave to pull from when you are successful next month! Number 3 is a big reason why I’ve avoided investigating it as an option because whatever FMLA time I use for treatment, is time subtracted from family leave I would want to take when/if we are successful. I’d rather spend my time off with my newborn than fretting over stim side effects!

    Wishing you the absolute best this coming cycle. I can’t wait til we can get back in the game and send Dr. B and his staff endless crazy-making emails! 🙂

    • I still have to get the paperwork done. I’m not planning on using the FMLA for anything other than the transfer day and egg retrieval days (if we do a fresh cycle). But the days do come out of the total time off if there’s a live birth at the end. But if its one, two or three, I can live with that!

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