I have been approved to be on a FMLA
status since my elderly mother moved into my home and I take her to and from doctors appointments and such. I have read that the law states that I am entitled to 12 weeks of "unpaid" leave for this purpose because we employ over 150 people and are a private sector, doctor owned Medical Clinic. I have presented my issue to my State Dept of Labor
and Industries as well as the US Dept of Labor to which neither have been able to give me an answer. Both refer me to the other and I have not gotten a clear answer from either.
We earn time off referred to as PTO
that accumulates based on time worked. Even though FMLA is approved, they require that I exhaust my PTO time first and be paid before I am allowed to take time off for FMLA. Personally I wanted to not be paid for FMLA time because I wanted to save my PTO for vacation and my own appointments that we all have. So, they are making me be paid, but they are also charging the paid PTO time against FMLA time.
So, I question can they make me take this time as paid therefore exhausting my PTO?
Secondly; if I am being paid and using my "earned" time off, then can they also charge this time against my 480 hours allowed every year while qualified for FMLA?
I asked that they not pay me and just allow me to take some time off now and again for FMLA for doctor appts and such. The response was and I quote "This was brought up in a Past Managers meeting and the decisions was to be the same across the board to all staff. Each emp is to be brought up the their FTE (full time equivalent) status for each paycheck, if this means that they have to use their PTO to do that, that is what needs to be done. You could change your FTE status to a lower amount, say 90%, if Heather (my supervisor) approves that. Understand that she may have to hire someone else to cover those hours and they may not be available later on when you want to go back to a full 100% FTE status."
Were talking about a couple hours a week, but occasionally maybe 8 hours in a week. But yes, it has exhausted my PTO time completely and my workload has not suffered. I just feel threatened by the advise to lower my FTE status, which then effects benefits of course.
And that I feel very strongly that I am getting hit twice with exhausting my PTO, and then also those same hours being charged against the allowable FMLA hours. It feels like discrimination
I am anxious to hear what your educated opinion dictates. Thanks so much and sorry this was such a lengthy inquiry.