In Case of Family Emergencies…

Hi, Anita:

My mother has recently become very ill and is soon going to be requiring full-time care. Are there any protections for me so I do not lose my job over this family emergency?

Dear, Fear of Being Fired:

Thank you for the question. Caring for a sick family member or parent can be a very challenging and time-consuming ordeal. Luckily, there are some protections and support for you in case an emergency strikes — namely, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Family_Emergencies_MWUnder FMLA, companies that have over 50 employees within 75 miles from the company are required to offer 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to take care of a spouse, parent, or child with a serious health condition. It also covers the birth and care of an employee’s child or that employee’s adoption or foster care of a child.

In order for an employee to qualify, he/she must meet the following criteria:

  • Employee must be employed by the company for over 1 year.
  • At least 1,250 hours must have been worked in the last 12 months.

For those that may have a more complicated situation and need to care for someone who is not a legal or biological relation, you will need to prove that the person needing your care is in loco parentis with you. You might be asking yourself, what in the world is in loco parentis? According to the U.S. Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet #28C, in loco parentis refers to a relationship in which a person has put himself/herself in the situation of a parent by assuming responsibility for a child to whom they are not legally or biologically connected. In other words, the person who needs your care is not your biological or legal parent but took care of you as if he/she was.Wheelchair

To prove your situation qualifies as in loco parentis, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • How old was the employee when in loco parentis care began?
  • How dependent was the employee on the person during childhood?
  • What was the extent to which duties commonly associated with parenthood was provided?
  • Did the person provide the employee with day-to-day responsibilities of care or financially supported them as a child?

I hope this helps shine some positive light on your situation and that it will help lessen your job-security concerns. As always, in these situations, consult your Human Resources representative to make sure you are all on the same page and to keep them informed on your situation. The more you know and can prepare, the better off you will be.

Readers, have you ever been in a similar situation? What recommendations do you have for Fear of Being Fired?

Here are some additional resources that are worth reading if you are faced with this situation:

And here is a quick video that spells out who is eligible for FMLA rights:

Have a question you would like to ask? Comment below or visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Warm Wishes,

Anita

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julieta A. Lisbo
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 09:58:18

    Thank you for the information. I do hope I can avail of those privileges when the same thing will happen to any member of my family.

    Reply

  2. Dominique Johnson
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 09:54:59

    You find someone worthy of taking care of your mother. I have experience in taking care of older people that are ill. but just take a breather an find someone to help you.

    Reply

  3. Lucy
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 08:57:29

    Anita – You are certainly spot on to recommend use of the FMLA benefit. I would also suggest checking with her H.R. department to see if they have an Employee Assistance program as one feature is provide for emotional support for caregivers as I can only imagine the stress it would put on her and her family. In addition she may want to see if her employer has a long-term care program benefit option or if they know of an affordable/viable program that provides long-term care to immediate family members.

    Reply

  4. Shakita Randle
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 08:24:12

    I am certified nurse assistant I am starting my own business in home health care. If you would like to sit down and talk about how we can help you out with your family member.

    Reply

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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