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PTO, Disability & termination Pennsylvania

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  • PTO, Disability & termination Pennsylvania

    My wife took PTO time from 10 thru 24 July, during which she had sinus surgery. It was one-day surgery with a 5 day recovery at home. She never requested medical leave for this time period. Now her employer (HR Office) is telling her she must file for Short Term Disability/Family Medical Leave of Absence and not come back to work until she gets a letter of release from her doctor. If she does not fill out the paperwork & obtain letters from the doctors she was told she could be terminated.
    Is it legal for an employer to do this? She never requested any form of medical leave or disability. The whole time period of surgery & recovery were within the time frame of her PTO.
    Wouldn't filling out these claim forms be filing a false claim? Her Supervisor approved her PTO and never stated anything about having to file any claims.
    Would this be a case of wrongful termination? She is being pressured to file a claim or be fired.

  • #2
    Under FMLA, employers must count as FMLA leave any leave that qualifies as such. In other words, the employee does not get to decide whether leave is taken under FMLA or not. So, yes, they can require her to complete the appropriate paperwork for FMLA leave. Because FMLA leave is, by definition, unpaid leave, they can also require her to complete the paperwork to receive short-term disability payments as income replacement for the unpaid leave that she took. They can also require her to use any paid leave that she has available for her absence, which it appears she's already done. And, yes, she can be terminated for failing to follow both employer policy and the law with regard to thsi issue.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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    • #3
      Thanks for reply Marketeer.
      I must be missing something in this. My wife never asked for medical leave nor FMLA. She took her PTO and had a surgery on her time. Now the employer says she MUST file these claims. The insurance covering the surgery was from my employer.
      Are you saying that any employee who takes PTO, and then has a medical procedure (even emergency surgery), can be forced into filing a claim under the FMLA or terminated? She already used PTO time that the company owed her. What is there for them to gain by requiring all this paperwork for claims? Shouldn't this be a none-issue with the employer?

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      • #4
        It doesn't make any difference whether she "asked" for FMLA or not. She was out for more than 3 days and the company had reason to know it was for a qualifying medical condition.

        And the fact that she used PTO time to remain on pay status is also irrelevant. That is income. FMLA is time.

        No matter how you slice this, the employer is correct to require the forms. Why was she so dead set against using 2 weeks of FMLA time in the first place?
        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
          If your wife has a condition that qualifies under FMLA, her employer is required by law to provide FMLA for that condition whether she asks for it or not. It is not her choice. Her employer would be in violation of the law if they handled it any other way.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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          • #6
            pto vs fmla

            Is an employer required to make a short term disability product available to emplyees?

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            • #7
              Not in PA, no.
              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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              • #8
                st disability in pa

                Thank you, cbg.

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