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I returned to work today after being out for two days with my mother in the hospital. As I came in I was given the lecture that it was our busy time and I needed to make a decision whether I could work and care fo my mother at the same time. My sister and brother live in other states so I don;t have anyone else to assist with mom's care. I presently have an agency providing in home care for mom while I am working. Unfortunately there is always a "crisis" either with mom or her caregivers. I know I will need to be with mom for some tests and doctor visits in the next few weeks. What do I do?

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The law is different here, I guess (Ontario, Canada). I swas told I could "work my hours or quit" when I asked for either personal unpaid leave, or for some vacation time I had already accumulated. That was a couple of years ago in early stages, when I needed time to get life organized around my Mom's needs. Given no choice, I continued to "work my hours" and also bring home work from the office.

I did take vacation time for doctors' appointments in early times, but Mom is beyond that now. Her GP is remarkably responsive by phone without my needing to ambulance Mom to and from appointments.

HOWEVER, regardless of where you are and the law prevailing there, there will be more and more of us workers / caregivers popping up in the workplace, and this is the time to make employers aware of that. They will simply have to deal with us more humanely due to our sheer numbers. Or suffer the loss of a whole generation of experienced workers.

You might want to start by gently reminding your employer of that.

Otherwise, I agree completely with Elizza's comments from March 11. You need to keep your employer in the care-needed loop without using your home situation to get "special" treatment in the workplace. Tough advice - I speak from personal experience.

My employer - a doctor with an office in a hospital that once held "seniors' month" - my employer couldn't care less about my home challenges. He just wants my BIC (butt in chair) and wants his office run with no disruptions. The only answers he accepts about anything is "it's on your desk" or "I'm on it and it will be on your desk by the time you finish with the next patient."

The workplace will have to accommodate the "sandwich generation" but we have a long way to go yet to make that happen.

Are there any advocacy societies where you are that could maybe send in some advice to your employer?
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As an add on to everyone's good advice about FLMA etc, you would be wise to polish your resume & start looking for a more family friendly company - either big or small. The gov can only protect you so far and reality says that with an attitude like that it is only a matter of time before you are forced to make choices that you may not want to make, or have them made for you - even replaced. Don't tell them, but do go online & start looking. Talking to you that way is a red flag; and if you are already under stress, then it will make your life even harder during a tough time. You didn't say what you do, what type of co, or what your status is (full, p/t, ??) but regardless you must be protective for yourself, and by extension even your parents.
When I was first juggling a desperately ill parent, and other issues, I was approached by a company that had had my resume on file. When I interviewed they offered me the job, and then made the off hand comment about putting my mom in a home since I would be so busy. Needless to say I didn't accept that job, and have managed to find other clients that allow me to keep her at my home. Tough economies bring out the worst sometimes, but don't let them scare you into being afraid no one else will hire you. How many others out there have gone through this?
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KarenBeth,

I think your parents would understand "Mom and Dad, if I don't work, there will not be any money to pay bills and to provide for food as well as clothing." I'd keep it simple.

How much longer do you think they can keep liiving on the farm?
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I am right there with you..we only have 4 employees. and it's an old family owned business and of course the boss and his wife just plunked their parents in the nursing home and went on with their lives..they ALSO depend on me to help THEM with their medical ect....and I am scared. Mom and Dad don't realize how much I need my job too. Ugg what to do. I just have to do the best I can do too. I just keep thinking what goes around comes around..am promise my kids that I will go to adult daycare smile smile
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Wow! Really touch situation. I agree, with many other posters, check out the FMLA. But I would also get your employer educated.
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First read the laws. The FMLA has restrictions. Your employer has to have X number of employees withing a certain mile range. It isn't across the board. I am glad I held my tongue when my boss told me I'd have to quit if my Mother-in-law came to live with us. Be prudent, choose your words wisely. Do not get under the gun and blurt out things you may have to retract later.
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I read through the thread of this difficult question... There are really no quick easy solutions. It shows very well based on the comments. How we all wish that we will all find easy solutions to juggling work & caregiving to elderly parents. Well, last night I came home past 10:00pm because of office meeting. At first my mom and daughter weren't happy. When I came home they're almost asleep. There goes another quiet evening... Boy I'm glad that I was just through with another late night office meeting. And now it's time to go back to work again, maid-less and mom will be alone for the next 5 or so hours. Have a nice day everyone.
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Good morning from this side of the planet (South East Asia) Good morning everyone. I don't want to ruin your weekend folks! So i will not rant vent throw my rage hahaha! We all need a break! So cheers, hugs to everyone here. We're one big happy exhausted family of caregivers. Love you all. Happy weekend, take time to smell the flower, don't rush, sleep a bit longer... listen to music, watch a good movie even at home with your parents, in laws, spouses, kids.... Sweet kisses, good morning good day!
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mhmarfil, I easily identify with everything you have shared. It is very difficult and you have summed it up very well in my opinion. Wish the real picture were a whole lot rosier than you have suggested. I don't think it is, either. Thanks for sharing. I needed to read and hear your words today, especially. May you find continued strength within to keep caring and sharing in the way that you do for your mother. You are both blessed to have each other.
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dtflex my hugs to you. My ex-boss too was like that. Since he is a rich politician in my town, he will never understand how it feels to be torn between a trying to hold down a job and caring for an elderly parent. My boss has so many "staff" who can do the caring for his own elderly parents, this staff being paid by taxpayers money.

Now for ordinary folks like us, I gave up on the idea of hiring caregivers whether part time or full time! I give up! And maybe I pray i will never have to hire one even if another medical crisis happen. I simply know this is the era of maid-less generation. Simply put: most partime/fulltime caregivers lasts a few days/weeks only. After that you're on your own again. I've proven this time and time again. It's hard. But in my care I learn to work around it. I don't push myself to do things that I can not simply do for lack of time or money. I juggle my time among my govt job and my duty as the primary breadwinner for my family/primary caregiver for my mom. I feel soooo stressed out, drain and groggy foggy brain.. Just wanna cheer you up. some issues here simply has no other solution but for us to do it... and in the course of doing it, letting go of another. I've also toyed with the idea of resigning so that I can go full time... My polls here showed that most members of this site are willing to resign from their jobs so they can care for their parents. But I didn't heed the polls' results as I know that my job is the only means to sustain my mom's needs, expenses medications. Also my job helps me to detach from my caregiving duties and have a few hours of space for my own personal growth. Good night, just wanna send my prayers & hugs to you. Night night everyone!!
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I say if a supervisor can't or won't understand or respect your family members at home (especially the people who gave birth to you) then that company is NOT worth working for.
Unfortunately, that isn't always the thinking, especially in this economy.
My husband has been out of work for almost 5 months now and I found out last week that he has been telling them about his mother living with us, who has Alzheimer's.
He gets interviews and is usually in the top 2 or 3 candidates, but gets told that "the company is going in a different direction." My question is if he is in the top 2 or 3 to be hired, how can they--all of a sudden--say that they are going in a different direction. That's BS, in my opinion. Why can't they just say, "The company decided to hire someone else." Be truthful about it. That company's NOT worth working for if they can't come out with the truth. I had no idea that the Family Leave Act
included parents, I just thought it was people in your household.
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Dtflex, happy to hear that you applied for FMLA, though I fail to understand why it would take any company 30 days to decide and reply to any worker's FMLA request. Sounds like something is rotten in Denmark if your employer has the required medical certification form filled out by the doctor, yet still claims to need 30 days to review and approve your request? Medical crises can't be placed on hold nor does the FML require that any American worker place a qualifying medically certified serious medical condition on hold for 30 days for any employer's convenience, policy or no policy.

Ask your HR department contact for a written policy or statement of why it would take so long, then contact your Area Department of Labor Office and let the DOL know. If you have complied by providing the required medical certification, that 30-day delay is not only bad faith by your employer, it is ludicrous.

Don't back down if you have done everything you needed to do and are eligible for FMLA by virtue of your tenure and hours worked and the qualifying serious medical life event. It is every American workers' right. If you need help the DOL is there to assist you.
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ED,
I certainly understand my bosses perspective that she has a business to run and it is her business at jeopardy too. She has been exptremely patient considering this has been going on for two years. I was hired two years ago with the full disclosure of my situation of being a caregiver. But as many of you know a lot changes in two years when dealing with chronic illnesses.

Yes I am doing what I can to protect my job because in case you didn't notice, jobs aren't available out there. I live in a state that has a higher unemployment rate than the national average. FMLA also includes "reduced work hours" so that I can take my mother to her numerous doctor appointments. Those that I can delegate to an outside caregiver I do, however there are some I must go to because I need to get the correct information from the doctor since my mother cannot remember or gets the information confused.

And as for the suggestion to talk to my boss, it is best not to talk with her when she is in an emotional state ready to cry, which was the situation Wednesday. She is not cold hearted, but frightened and reacts rather irrationally at times. When she is calmer I will try approach the issue.

No, I'm not riding the pity train, just trying to survive. I'm not looking for a "loophole" as you suggest to sit on my ass an twiddle my thumbs. I need to work and have an income to pay for my mothers care.

I've read many of your post and have found them very informative, however I think you misunderstood my situation.

dtflex
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Sorry to hear about your mom & your situation at work. An uncooperative boss can certainly add extra stress to life - something you don't need right now. I've recently gone through the same thing with my mom but fortunately, the Human Resources Dept worked with me. So, start by talking with someone in your Human Resources Dept because the persoal leave or FMLA, (depending on what your employer offers), may be the solution for you at this time.
Best of Luck to both you & your mom.
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DTFLEX:

Darned if you do and darned if you don't, right? Since you can't have your cake and it it too, eventually you'll have to make a choice. ... Or your boss is going to make it for you.

Elizza made some wonderful suggestions you shouldn't ignore. You can, for instance, (1) take medical leave until your mom is stable and the hired caregivers "crises" are over; (2) resign if you can afford being out of work; (3) make your boss' life miserable until he/she fires you, then file for unemployment and take care of your mom for 6 months; (4) talk with your mother, explain your job situation, and ask her to cooperate a little (do the same with your siblings); (5) put your mom in a nursing home; or (6) get on the pity pot and wait for everything to go away -- including your livelihood.

I advise you against holding your boss accountable for your situation and misfortunes. If I were him/her, I'd also ask you to decide what's more important. He/she has a business to run, you entered into an agreement when hired, not-so-unforeseen circumstances arose that keep you from performing your duties and earning that paycheck, and now it seems you're looking for a loophole that will allow you to take days off to take care of your mother even when there's hired help available (albeit in crisis) and hang on to a steady paycheck. The way it looks, and judging from the information you've given here, you can't have both. Good luck.

-- ED
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I hope you will listen to all who suggest you sit down with your boss. He has his concerns, too, and if you show they matter to you, you have a better chance of things working out for all.
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Thank you everyone for the suggestions. I have applied for FMLA and I should know something in the next 30 days. My HR department was pretty optimistic I would be approved. Thanks again because it was your information about FMLA that helped me to know where to go for assistance.
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Hello dear,
I reside in Singapore and here we do also sometimes get employers who are very one-sided and we also do have employers who are very compassionate.
What you may have to do is to have a good talk with your boss, and get him to understand your situation and that you are not doing it on purpose or without a thought for your work. Having elderly parents or young children would always put Moms in situations that they would have to handle them and you are the only one to look after your Mum. Perhaps, on days when you have to be away from work, you may suggest to him that if you have outstanding work, you would be willing to come in to complete it.
I am sure he has his family too and would perhaps understand your situation after this talk. I cannot fortell if the outcome would be favourable, hey, at least you tried.
I hope that somewhere inside your boss, there is a shred of decency and I hope that he realises that for anyone's business to flourish and grow they have to take care of their employees, and in turn he would have very loyal employees.
I wish you all the best and I hope that your Mom feels better soon.
God bless.
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Hi~ Based on the size of the company you are currently employed-The Family Leave Act-by the department of Labor perhaps can be helpful. There are certain requirements, however that must be followed-To learn more about this type in family leave act in the browser of you computer.
Unfortunately-business is business-and your employer seems quite harsh-that is until he is walking in your shoes-and able to relate.

By the way-as an alternative, have you considered using a day care center? In this manner you will be able to get to work, and your loved one will be taken care of..

Whatever the outcome-Good Luck-

Hap
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If the government that protects your job through "Family Leave" is the same government that will ensure you keep your health care when you lose your job--I don't think I would put my eggs in that basket. With unemployment running nearly 10% this is not the time to play "chicken" with your employer. Most likely your boss's future is in jeopardy too so he/she does not need any more intimidation from you or the government. The good news is that you are not alone in your predicament. Many folks who follow this site have dealt with similar problems and can help you find workable solutions. You need to be proactive in helping your boss find those solutions. For example, when you know in advance that you will need time off perhaps you can swap hours with a co-worker so that the boss has options rather than ultimatums. But regarding those crises with mom or her caregivers--you need to manage those. Perhaps you are enabling this behavior by being too eager to step in when they could work out the solution themselves if they had to?
I don't know if you have contacted your county Dept on Aging or other resources but they can help you on the home front without causing problems on the job front. And an honest discussion with your employer and co-workers will go a longer way toward finding a solution than will finger pointing. You should not assume that you are the only employee facing caregiver problems. What do your co-workers do with their children when school closes and day care has limited hours or costs too much?
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Unfortunately there are exceptions to the FMLA and it looks like you are one of them:

The federal FMLA does not apply to:

* workers in businesses with fewer than 50 employees (this threshold does not apply to public agency employers and local educational agencies);
* part-time workers who have worked less than 1,250 hours within the 12 months preceding the leave;
* workers who need time off to care for seriously ill domestic partners, children of domestic partners or seriously ill elderly relatives;
* workers who need time off to recover from short-term or common illness like a cold, or to care for a family member with a short-term illness; and
* workers who need time off for routine medical care, such as check-ups.

I ran into the same issue. I'm an only child and had to take time off when my parents took ill. They were in NJ and I was in CT. I had to move them into assisted living here in CT. My boss told me I had an "attendance problem". I'm sure that was a factor in the decision to vote me off the island when the company had a layoff. My female boss was much more lenient with a female coworker who took off nearly a month after her brother-in-law died because "her sister needed her".

I'm sorry to say that how your boss handles this is discretionary.
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I agree with the responses given. You need to talk with your boss, remind him of your rights, and ask him how you two can work together. He has legitimate needs as well and one of them is to understand better what he can expect from you. Of course, a crisis or emergency cannot be foreseen, but you have to be sure it IS a crisis before you skip work. Regular appointments should be told to your boss in advance. You have rights and he may not ignore them, but asserting your rights and making him upset won't help you, either.
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you should remind your boss of the Family Leave Act. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_and_Medical_Leave_Act_of_1993
as mentioned by the previous posters.
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Whatttttttt. This says a lot about what your boss HAS NOT gone through. Some people just don't get it.

Jodi is right the government will protect your job and you are entitled to a 4 month family emergency leave. After that if you still need more time take unpaid if need be, but I suppose all may be well within 4 months.

Google that question and see what you come up with. Matter of fact, I think I'll google it myself. I love a good legal battle.
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Remind your boss that the government protects your job with family leave time if you need it. They can work with you or work around you being gone. Actually, I'd like to see you drop your mom off at the boss' house for a week. Karma will win out and someday your boss will be ashamed. Hold your ground.
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