What's going on guys?
In today's video, we're going to be talking about how to get
FMLA for anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue.
I know about this topic not just because of a ton of research I've done into it,
but also because I've gone through the process myself.
I know how scary and overwhelming it can seem.
That's why I want you to pay really close attention to this video.
Watch it to the end because I'm going
to be peppering in some tips and tricks, some pitfalls that I almost fell
into that I don't want you to fall into because is I almost didn't get
approved for my FMLA leave and I don't want that to happen to you.
Now, to make the process of applying for and receiving FMLA leave as simple as
possible, I'm going to break it down for you in this video in four simple steps.
The first step is going to be determining whether or not you as an employee are
actually eligible for FMLA leave in the first place.
The second is going to be to determine
whether or not your condition actually qualifies you for FMLA leave.
The third is going to be what to say to your employer to get that leave.
And the fourth is going to be what to say to your doctor or your therapist to get
the medical certification you need to be approved for your FMLA leave.
Now, if you guys are new to this channel,
don't worry, I'm not going to make you subscribe or anything like that.
But I just want to point out, if you don't know me, I am not a lawyer.
This is not legal advice.
So do check the comments below just
in case I got anything wrong or in case the law changes,
or in case there's a certain condition or circumstance that I didn't mention.
Help each other out down there.
Now, for those of you who clicked on this
video just because you wanted some time off work and you have no idea what FMLA
actually is, FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act.
It's a US labor law that's going to protect employees who need to take
a little bit of time off work to either care for a family member or to take care
of their own serious health condition or mental health issue.
FMLA runs for a twelve week period over twelve months.
So basically you have twelve weeks worth of call out days over a twelve month span.
This can be continuous,
this could be intermittent, or this could be in a reduced schedule capacity.
So your job is going to be protected.
Your health insurance is going to be maintained
if you already are on employer health insurance, and your employer cannot fire
you when you come back to work or retaliate in any way.
Now, if you do this continuously,
continuous FMLA is going to be like taking all your leave at once.
So maybe you took four weeks off because
you were feeling super stressed out, even up to twelve weeks off because you
were just having some serious anxiety, serious depression or something like that.
Intermittent would be more if for example,
say you're having random panic attacks and there's some days where you just might
need to call out of work, but then the next day you're fine.
That's where intermittent is going to come in and you can kind of call out on a need
to basis as determined by your therapist or your doctor.
And then you have reduced schedule which is just going to be obviously
working in a lower reduced schedule capacity to help you take care of whatever
family issue or health issue or mental health issue needs to be taken care of.
FMLA is usually unpaid,
but sometimes employers might have a policy in place where they use up your
PTO days as you use FMLA so it can be paid
sometimes; you're just going to have
to talk to your employer to find out what their policy is.
So diving into this process here, step number one is going to be
to determine whether or not you actually qualify for FMLA.
Obviously you don't want to get this whole
process started if you're just going to get denied.
So let's take a look at this.
First off, you need to be working
for an employer with at least 50 employees in a 75 miles radius.
So if you're just working for a small mom
and pop shop, you're probably not going to be eligible for this.
You need to have worked for the employer for at least a year.
That's twelve months total.
Those months do not need to be consecutive
and you need to have worked a minimum of 1250 hours over the last twelve months.
That's going to be an average about 25 hours per week.
If you're a part time employee, you may be eligible for FMLA as long as
you hit that 1250 hours threshold in the past year.
Once you know whether or not you've hit
those required minimums, you're going to want to take a look
at your condition itself and see if your condition qualifies for FMLA.
So if you, a spouse, or a child are dealing
with any kind of serious health issue or mental health issue, be that anxiety,
depression, addiction, eating disorders, et cetera, you may be eligible for FMLA.
You're going to want to take a look
at these four circumstances that qualify for FMLA.
They are serious health conditions birth, adoption, foster care placement
and bonding with a child, military family leave, and mental health conditions.
Now, when is a mental health condition
considered serious enough to qualify for FMLA?
Well, there are two main conditions.
The first is if your mental health issue requires inpatient care.
So if you're dealing with an addiction
issue or an eating disorder and you're staying in a facility overnight,
that definitely is going to qualify you for FMLA.
Also, if you're dealing with something
that requires continuous treatment, so if you need four days or more off work
and you're going through therapy or on medication and you just need a couple
of days off, this is probably going to qualify you right here.
But also, I think a lot of people are
going to qualify who are watching this video due to any chronic issues.
So if you're dealing with anxiety or
depression on a chronic regular basis where maybe some days are worse than
others, maybe one day you wake up and you're having panic attacks and you're
just not ready to deal with your customer facing role.
Or maybe you're dealing with depression one day and it's really hard for you
to get out of bed, but you'll probably be fine tomorrow.
But today it's just not the day.
This is probably going to qualify you right here
for FMLA, this chronic condition, as long as you're getting treatment
at least two days out of the year, you should qualify here.
At this point, you should have a pretty
good idea of whether or not you would be approved for FMLA.
So if you're ready to initiate the process with your employer, let's get started.
It's a good idea to give your employer at least 30 days advance notice if you can.
If you can't, just give them as much notice as possible.
But 30 days is the common courtesy that's expected.
Let your employer know that you need FMLA, they're going to have five days to get
back to you and let you know if you're eligible for FMLA.
If you are, that's going to start a 15 day
timer during which you need to get them medical certification.
So actually I recommend doing that step first because that 15 day window can be
difficult to work within, but more on that later.
Once you get them the medical certification, they're going to have
another five days to get back to you and let you know whether or not your leave
has been designated as FMLA, because it could be granted in a different
capacity if it didn't necessarily qualify for FMLA.
At this point, all that's left to do is
follow your employer's procedure for calling out.
Now, this may be the same as it always has
been, or they might make it a little bit more complicated with a third party like
Sedgwick where you have to also go online and just basically check a day where it's
like, okay, I'm calling out FMLA on this day.
That's what I had to do.
So you might have to do something like that as well.
But the great news is when you return from FMLA, you're still going to have
a job to go back to and you're going to have health insurance continuing
throughout the whole process of all these call outs,
assuming you already had health insurance through that employer,
the final step in the FMLA process is going to be to get the necessary medical
certification from your therapist, your doctor, or another healthcare provider.
This is going to be paperwork provided either by your employer or downloaded
directly from the Department of Labor's website, which basically is just going
to communicate to your employer, yes, my patient's claim for FMLA is legitimate.
Here's how much time off I recommend they
should be able to get each month or each week, et cetera.
Here are some tips and tricks I highly recommend so that you don't make the same
mistakes I made and so that you have the greatest chance possible of getting
approved for the type of leave you need.
From personal experience, my advice here is this:
think long and hard about what you want before you even talk
to your doctor or your therapist about this leave.
You know your needs better than anyone, and it's perfectly okay to communicate
this to your doctor or your therapist rather than just leaving it to complete
whim and chance and hoping that they guess what you need correctly.
For example, do severe panic attacks cause
you to call out randomly on random days throughout the month?
Does depression make it harder for you to work a week or two per month?
Are you going through something really
rough right now and just need a few months off to get your head straight?
Think about these things before speaking with your therapist.
Now I want to tell you guys a little bit
about how I went through the process and how I got approved for FMLA,
exactly what I said and did to get the leave I needed.
So first things first.
As a patient, you're also a customer.
If you're going to be spending, especially if you're not covered
by insurance, it's going to be a couple of $100 possibly for this session.
So make sure you're getting exactly what you need.
Communicate it beforehand.
Don't waste your time, don't waste your money.
I found a local therapist in my area and sent her office an email stating the facts.
I said, hey, look, I've been going through
something recently and I really think FMLA being able to call out every now and then
would help take a ton of the stress off me and help me get better faster.
I already initiated the process
with my employer, not realizing it would start a 15 day window.
So is that a time frame you can work
within or do I have to talk to somebody else?
The therapist told me she could book
with me right away and start the paperwork process immediately.
So I said, okay. Sounds good.
Let's get something booked a couple of days from now.
I told the therapist exactly what I needed.
I didn't leave anything to guesswork.
I said, Listen, something traumatic happened in my life
recently and I've started having panic attacks
again, just going through a lot of stress right now, and what would really help me
is just the ability to call out every now and then without losing my job.
I said I probably won't even need it.
It's just something that knowing it's there will give me peace of mind.
My therapist was more than happy to help
with this process and thoroughly filled out the paperwork exactly as needed.
So I got intermittent leave approved for FMLA and was able to call out over
a six month period twice per month for one week at a time.
After that six month period, I had the option to see the therapist
again and renew the FMLA, but I didn't need to do so.
Finally, guys, I want to talk about what happens if you are not qualified for FMLA.
So what if an employee is not eligible for FMLA?
What do we do?
Well, you still have a couple of other options at your disposal.
We have unpaid time off, paid time off and vacation time.
Those are pretty self explanatory.
I'm not going to go into those.
Also, people wonder, what's stress leave? Can I get
stress leave from work?
Stress leave is really just a sick day.
You're taking sick leave, but the employer is honoring mental health
as a sick leave eligible reason to call in.
But then we finally have disability.
So what's the difference between disability versus FMLA?
Disability is going to offer you basically no job protection.
There's no guarantee that you're going
to have a job to go back to, whereas with FMLA, your employer is going
to have to give you either the same job or a basically exactly comparable job.
They can't fire you for taking FMLA if you're not eligible for FMLA,
disability might be a good way to get some time off work, sometimes even while being
paid if there's a certain employer policy or insurance policy in place there.
But just keep in mind it doesn't offer the same protections that FMLA does.
If you've gone through the FMLA process yourself or have any tips or tricks or
questions about specific conditions or eligibility requirements that I didn't
dive into enough, feel free to comment below and help each other out.
I know this stuff can get really complicated really quickly.
Things also change over time, so hit that comment section up.
Also, if this video is helpful for you, I want to ask you to consider hitting
the like button, maybe even the subscribe button if you want to see more of me,
because this actually helps me reach a lot more people.
And I know other people are probably dealing with similar issues as yourself.
So that's all I got for today, guys.
Thank you so much for sticking to the end.
I will catch you guys next time.