I am the primary caregiver for two parents. Recently my dad has been sick. I was told by my boss that if I called in two days in a row because he was in the hospital, that my boss could write me up and take disciplinary action against me. Yet it says in the policy that 3 days with no call, no show, you get fired. If I call, and have vacation time, should it not be a write up?
Whether or not you can use your vacation time in this situation will depend, in part, on the precise terms of the vacation policy. However, if you have been with your employer for at least twelve months and you worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous year, you are elibible for up to twelve weeks of protected, unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
I recommend you write a letter to your employer (please do yourself a favor and put this in writing) and let them know that you need time off to care for your father, whom has a serious medical condition. Specify the amount of time you need off (up to twelve weeks) and explain you are requesting the leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Ask to use your paid vacation concurrently if you are worried about taking unpaid leave.
If your employer refuses or retaliates against you in any fashion, keep diligent written records in a personal journal of what has occurred, when, by whom, what witnesses were present/aware of it, etc. Take these records (the FMLA request letter and journal) to a local employment lawyer and they should be able to assist you.
Good luck to you, and wishing your father a fast recovery.
The information provided in this Answer is offered for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or counseling. You should not rely on the information herein in assessing your legal rights, determining to take legal action, in any formal papers filed in a legal or administrative forum, or in any way whatsoever. Moreover, this Answer does not create an attorney-client relationship - only the formal, written agreement required by the State Bar of California can do that. You should always have a full consultation with a lawyer if you are contemplating any sort of legal action.
In addition to the comments by others, you should know that, in addition to protected rights under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), some states have their own mini-version. Massachusetts has the Small Necessities Leave Act. It requires employers to give eligible employees up to 24 hours of leave within a 12 month period for attending a child's school activity, or to take a child or elderly relative to medical appointments. Check to see if your state has this kind of protection.
This information should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.
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