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Keeping my job when Caring for my Child with Sickle Cell

Keeping my job when Caring for my Child with Sickle Cell

Zna Sleep

Most working parents, especially single moms, have to worry about your job even while your child is sick. Here are a few tips to help keep your job while you are still there to care for your child. 

Last January of 2013 I started my new job.  Prior to last year, my SCW had not been in the hospital many times.  However, in November of 2013, everything changed and the first area affected was my job. My daughter would literally get out one day and have to return to hospitalized two days later or would be admitted and her stay would last for two weeks or more.  The first absence from work last on and off for about two weeks.  There were times I could not go to work even if I had someone to be at the hospital with my daughter because decisions had to be made that I needed to be there for. 

Strangely enough, one of my co-workers came to me and offered me some advice to save my job.  She told me about Family Medical Leave Act that would allow me to use all of my benefit time to cover my absences and when I ran out it would secure my job.  The catch is that when my benefit time ran out, I wouldn’t get paid but at least it would secure my job.  It would also protect me from my boss using those absences against me during my evaluations. 

An hour later my boss comes to me to discuss my many absences and tells me how this could negatively affect my job.  She went on to ask me if there was anyone else who could help me managed the care of my daughter so I could be at work more.  In shock, I just looked at her and let her know I was on my way down to Human Resources to discuss if I qualify for FMLA.  With her eyes wide open, she said that was a great idea and to let her know what they say.  Human resources let me know right on the spot that I did qualify.  I completed the paperwork and had my supervisor sign off.  Currently, I am fully protected against being fired for taking lumps of time off. 

Hopefully, having a boss lay in wait to fire you doesn’t happen. You need find out if your employer has provisions for medical leave.  For those who do not work for a company who offers coverage to secure your job while on medical leave; having a candid honest conversation about what is going on with your child is the best plan of action.  You will not be guaranteed to have your job upon your return but if you were a good employee before that point then it’s a good chance they would work with you.  Keeping the lines of communication open is always the key to keeping them working with you.   You may also want to inquire about working from home or being given alternative schedule after hours to complete work that you missed.   

If all else fails and you lose your job.  You have a great case to obtain an unemployment check or apply for social security benefits for your SCW to help your family out.  Remember, there are always options when the worst case scenario happens.  Communication is key, thinking outside the box to complete work you missed and keeping your optimism will be a great tools to remaining employed.

About Author

Elle Jenae

Elle Jenae

My name is Louisetta Williams and I’m a proud single parent of a 4 beautiful girls ages 18, 13, 8, and 5. I love to refer to my daughters as my Z-babies because all their names start with a “Z” and online I often call them Z1, Z2, Z3 or Z4 in accordance of their birth order. My youngest Z-baby is 5 years old and she is my Sickle Cell Warrior. I work as a research assistant at the American Academy of Pediatrics where we research diseases that affect children all over the world. I love my job because our research helps enhance children’s health worldwide. My passions outside of work are reading, doing family activities, going to church, writing and helping people in any way I can. I wanted to write for Sickle Cell Warriors because I want to be the voice for parents who fight for their Sickle Cell Warriors daily. I believe by sharing my experiences, research and testimonies of how I cope with dealing with an ill child; I can help someone. I want to be an advocate for SCD parents who sacrifice so much and let them know that it’s okay to be perfectly imperfect.

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  1. tashaj
    tashaj January 31, 07:41

    I know this feeling all too well… my beautiful SCW she is 13 years old. And I was recently discharged from my job of 5 years. Of course I was told that I wasn’t discharged for the reason of having to miss work often but due to poor work performance. Which I believe to be false, since I was discharged while she was in the hospital. So it has been hard these last few months. Unemployment has beed denied even the appeal. Unfortunately I live in a state where there is a fire at will law. All I can keep doing is just pray…. that eventually it will get better.

  2. Elle Jenae
    Elle Jenae Author April 06, 11:11

    @tashaj. Be encouraged! This maybe your time to create work for yourself, find your passion and let it create wealth for you. I believe God allows us to go through certain things to push us into greatness! This is your time! Find your passion & hire yourself!

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