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Considering mental health disability leave - CA California

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  • Considering mental health disability leave - CA California

    I am considering going on leave due to mental health issues. I have a long history of treatment and PTSD and depression diagnosis. I am unable to function anymore in this position and in my daily life. My questions are:

    #1 If my employee manual says I can take leave for 30 days with approval, and my doctor wants me out for 90, what do I do?

    #2 Should I give my manager notice ( I was thinking 2 weeks as I don't want to leave them high and dry)? What if he fires me on the spot? Am I protected or would I go to unemployment in that case? How do I protect myself.

    #3 Can future employers find out that I was out on mental health leave or do they just find out medical leave?

    #4 Do I have to disclose this is a mental health issue when giving my notice?

    #5 I am currently in night school, will I be able to continue school or will this affect my claim?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by sukilu; 04-13-2011, 07:45 PM.

  • #2
    1. Your choice. If you want to take the leave allowed, you can do so, then quit after that. However, in fairness to your employer, if you're going to quit anyway, you may want to let them know that up front.

    2. Since your employer is not big enough to be subject to the FMLA or CFRA (the California equivalent), you job does not have to be held at all, and is not legally protected.

    3. Probably not, unless you tell them. Hopefully, your employer wouldn't tell them either, but as long as you tell your current employer that is why you are leaving, they could legally pass that on.

    4. You don't have to, unless your current employer requires some type of documentation for the 30-day medical leave you mentioned, and you wish to avail yourself of that 30 days.

    5. What "claim"? Unemployment? You aren't eligible for unemployment unless you are medically released for work, and are ready, willing, and able to accept a reasonable job offer. Your school schedule not withstanding.

    Good luck.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      You would file for state disability with your doctor's recommendatins. If you go for the 30 day disability with your employer, don't quit. When your disability is over (you've recovered) and you start looking for work, you can file for unemployment if you were discharged, it would be harder to get if you quit, even if it was for your needed time off. Let your employer know how long you'll be out and let them terminate you.

      I'm saying this from memory, so you should verify that you could file for unemployment once your doctor releases you from disability.
      I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

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      • #4
        But just to reiterate, your job is not protected by the leave your employer offers or by being on disability. Only FMLA would do that, and it does not apply in your case.

        Generally speaking, quitting for medical reasons is not a disqualifying reason for unemployment benefits.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          #5 I am currently in night school, will I be able to continue school or will this affect my claim?

          As has been mentioned, if you are medically disabled from working, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits. If your employer offers some sort of disability benefit for which you would otherwise qualify, you may apply for that. Whether you would qualify for that if you're unable to go to work but still able to go to school is a big question mark. Much depends upon the definition of "disability" in your employer's disability insurance plan.

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          • #6
            One more question

            Thank you for all the replies!

            My employer does not offer any disability, and my disability is caused by mental health, not just my job situation. I do not want to quit. I need either disability of unemployment to survive.

            Can anyone speak to how hard it is to get a job after you go out on leave from a disability? My friends are telling me it has a huge stigma and potential employers will avoid me like the plague after I take it. I know I have to take care of myself, but I don't want to screw my future in the process.

            Finally, again I am concerned with disclosure on my reason for leaving. This is a small business and they do not follow HR rules at all, so I want to protect myself if I am going for another job that they will only know this is medical leave only. I guess I would have to have another doctor sign off rather than a psychologist so they don't know it is a mental health physician by the credentials on the letter. I believe I will need need to provide the doctors note to my employer but I am not sure.

            BTW, I have worked solidly, usually two jobs at a time for years. I have never been fired and I have never been written for anything at my current job.

            Thanks.
            Last edited by sukilu; 04-13-2011, 06:20 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              My employer does not offer any disability, and my disability is caused by mental health, not just my job situation. I do not want to quit. I need either disability of unemployment to survive. But I also need to take care of myself.

              If your employer doesn't offer a disability plan and as you won't be eligible for unemployment benefits, unless California has some State disability insurance plan for which you qualify, then you will have no source of income while you're off work.

              Can anyone speak to how hard it is to get a job after you go out on leave from a disability.

              I think your friends are way overstating the case. Many, many people have mental health issues and it's just not the stigma it once was. It's perfectly ok to tell a prospective employer something along the lines of, "I took some time off work because I was struggling with some depression. My doctor prescribed the right medications for me and I'm very happy to say that I'm now A-OK."

              You'd actually be hard-pressed to find an HR person or hiring manager who hasn't had a friend or family member in a similar situation or even dealt with this personally.

              Finally, again I am concerned with disclosure on my reason for leaving.

              You have no obligation to tell your employer why you're leaving. Naturally, they'll want to know but you certainly may limit your answer to "I've decided it's a good time for me to take some time for myself" or something along those lines.
              Last edited by Beth3; 04-08-2011, 08:10 AM.

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              • #8
                Yes, CA has a temporary disability plan I will be eligible for and this is what I am going for.


                Alice - Thank you, I believe the 30 days is a good plan. I will discuss with my doctor.
                Last edited by sukilu; 04-13-2011, 06:20 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  One final question

                  What if I request the 30 days and I am denied?

                  What if they decide to terminate me on the spot? I just go for unemployment instead?

                  I have seen my manager fabricate documentation (disciplinary warnings) to keep a terminated employee from getting unemployment. My manager is the ceo and Is VERY unethical. Again, its a small company where there are no lines to escalate issues. I just want to protect myself. Any thoughts?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Don't go borrowing trouble. We could play "what if" all day but none of it is going to change the fact that you need to take time off for a medical reason and your employer is small enough that they are not compelled by law to grant a specified amount of time off.

                    Ask for the 30 days and apply for disability through the state. That is not dependent upon remaining employed. Once you are released to resume working or searching for work, you can apply for unemployment if you do not go back to this place.
                    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                    • #11
                      ElleMD,

                      Yes, you are right. Thanks.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That's what I was talking about. Your doctor will put you on disability leave, you use that to apply for state disability. You also use it with your employer, when asking for leave. If your doctor wants you on 90 days leave, have the doctor say that. When you notify your boss, if they terminate you, just make sure you have all your documentation from your job already. When you're off disability, you apply for unemployment. If your boss contests it, he'll have to explain why he's saying you had poor performence (or whatever he's claiming) but he let it go and just happened to fire you on the day you went out on leave for disability.

                        My trick: if you can file for unemploment by mail, you can attach an addendum explaining the situation with your boss and what happened. They might grant your unemployment up front and make your employer appeal. I did that (in CA) and it worked for me. My unemployment continued through the appeal time. And, of course, I won, because of my documention, which I had included in my addendum.
                        I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would note that, while Alice Dodd's advice is sound, the only thing opening your UI claim immediately will do, is possibly affect the amount of benefits you receive (because of the quarters included in the base peiod). You will NOT be eligible to receive unemployment benefits until you are medically released to work. You cannot collect CA SDI and UI at the same time.
                          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                          • #14
                            Extending disability and disclosure to employer California

                            Two more questions please:

                            #1 If I initially take 30 days, then extend it another 60 days, does this interrupt payments of temporary disability? Slow them down? Another waiting period?

                            #2 Do I have to tell my boss "why" I am taking medical leave? I can't trust him to be confidential. I just want to say it is a personal emergency.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              SDI is how you get paid when you are ON leave, or beyond. The length of your approved leave from your employer does not affect your SDI eligibility.
                              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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