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How to use FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) for work

Started by michiganer, Aug 17, 2007 3:21 AM
9 replies to this topic
9 replies to this topic


    This is my new dawn

  • Posts: 140
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Posted August 17, 2007 - 3:21 AM

I've seen only a few posts about this and was hoping someone can shed a little more light on FMLA. Has anyone out there used it sucessfully? My problem is that I only have about 3 days left of vacation and sick time from work. I would like to have a full week off when I get my surgery. I was wondering how much hassle it is to get medical leave. I have worked the 1,250 hours and have been at my job 8 years. So has anyone out there actually used FMLA? Thanks!


    Senior Member

  • Posts: 59
  • Joined: Aug 2007
  • Location: OKLAHOMA
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Posted August 17, 2007 - 9:55 AM

I took FLMA for another medical problem when i was out of vac/sick time at my job. So easy to get...just went to Human Resource dept. and 2 days later I had it. I worked at a pretty large hosp. with i'm sure a large HR dept. Best of Luck to you!


    Bariatric Master

  • Posts: 1,341
  • Joined: Apr 2007
  • Location: TEXAS
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
Posted August 17, 2007 - 11:53 AM

<p>Isn't FMLA non-paid? You could always just simply take a leave without pay. I cannot imagine that your supervisor wouldn't let you do that. Also, a lot of places let you go in the hole up to a certain number of vacation hours....check on that (we can go in the hole up to 40 where I work).</p>


    Bariatric Evangelist

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  • Surgery: Gastric Bypass
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Posted August 17, 2007 - 4:32 PM

At my place of work, there is no "leave of absence" so we have to use FMLA for any sickness or family sickness where you will be out for longer than 3 days. Basically all I did was fill out the forms that I got from our nurse here at the company, send them back to her and the FMLA people got in contact with my doc and she had to fill out a few forms of her own. I ended up taking 3 weeks out of work for this surgery, but I only did it that way because of the way my company works our time, (vaca, sick, etc.) I probably could have gone back after 1 week.



  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: Nov 2006
  • Location: MA
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
Posted August 18, 2007 - 4:07 PM


You can use FMLA and STD (Short term disability) together; actually they have to run concurrently. The FMLA is a protection for you that holds your position for 12 weeks, and the time taken off can not be held against you for disciplinary reasons. FMLA is unpaid, but WLS is covered by most STD policies and you can receive partial pay while you are out.

My company does a 60% pay for STD, the first 3 days are not covered but if you have sick, vacation, or personal time you can use that during this time. Then the rest they picked up for me. I took 2 weeks out of work when I got banded, and then 3 days when I had my port moved.

Feel free to e-mail me directly with questions about FMLA, I work in HR and this is what I do most of my day :sick


    Senior Member

  • Posts: 59
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  • Location: OKLAHOMA
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Posted August 18, 2007 - 6:36 PM

Cuppy, thanks for the info. and by the way i just saw your weight loss...you are going great...keep up the good work!


    Senior Member

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  • Joined: Aug 2007
  • Location: TN
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Posted August 18, 2007 - 10:35 PM

FMLA doesn't have to be unpaid. If you have sick time available, you may use it and/or vacation if the sick runs out. However, you are allowed 12 weeks total paid or unpaid, Where I work, I just went to HR and got the forms, took them to the nurse at the surgeons. She filled them out and I took them back to HR. HR e-mailed my manager with the information. Very simple. I've been there 15 years, so I had over 400 hours of sick time. Took 2 weeks (80 hours) off for surgery.



  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: Nov 2006
  • Location: MA
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
Posted August 19, 2007 - 1:30 PM

Please read over your company's FMLA policy; there are Federal guidelines that each company has to follow for FMLA but the use of vacation, sick, and personal leave vary from company to company. Some companies can force you to use all or 50% of any earned time you have on the books, while some companies do not require that you use any of your banked earned time. FMLA is an upaid medical leave to care for yourself, spouse, parent, or child. The option to receive pay is a company policy, and the Short Term Disability pay is also a company benefit (which any company with over 50 employees will have as an option, just a matter of it is a free benefit or a benefit you needed to elect to enroll in by weekly payment).

Also, depending on how your doctor's office completes your FMLA forms will decide if you are approved for FMLA or not. WLS is not an automatic approval for FMLA; you must have a medically necessary reason for having the surgery and being out......if you get someone in HR who feels it is an elective surgery your going out for (example - plastic surgery) then they can deny your request or grant you only part of the time as FMLA.

There are also guidelines we follow regarding the time that is alloted, FMLA is not an automatic 12 weeks of leave. Unfortunately, I get people in my office everyday asking why they don't automatically get 12 weeks if FMLA allows that (some states give 13 weeks because the state law allows 1 more week than federal law). The policy is up to 12 weeks in a 12 month period (your company may go by rolling 12 months or calendar year). Each case is reviewed individually and depending on what the doctor writes and the medical reason, that is how the approval for time off is granted. We will not accept paperwork with a nurses signature, it must have a doctor's signature or stamp on it. Again this varies by company.

Best of luck, and sorry for the long e-mail. It's just that I have had to deny some employees original request for FMLA for WLS and skin removal due to the information provided on the FMLA forms did not meet the requirement. If employees are picking up their forms from me, I let them know in advance what the doctor needs to put on there to get approval or I call their doctor's office and tell them I am faxing the forms back over and can they add in whatever information is needed.



  • Posts: 16
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Posted August 19, 2007 - 11:05 PM

I used FMLA twice last year. I had to have my gallbladder removed 6 weeks before my band. I am not sure if the rules are different between employers. I had to take 40 hours off PTO first to get my week of paid leave. If I didn't have enough PTO I had to go unpaid. I also had to get clearance from my doctor to return both times. I work at the hospital where I was banded. I am lucky to have the benefits that I have. Check with your HR rep and see what is available.
Good Luck!



  • Posts: 3
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Posted September 20, 2009 - 11:43 PM

The FMLA guidelines, which are found at dol.gov, specifically state that cosmetic surgery is not covered. FMLA protects your job; however, your company sick policy may still cover use of paid sick time for time due to surgery.

WLS is not considered elective if you are designated as obese; therefore, should be covered under FMLA.

I'm a Sr HR Manager and am familiar with FMLA.

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