Denied FMLA due to lay off from pandemic

Hello all.

I am new to this group, and wanted to know if anyone might have advice about applying for FMLA for your child’s type 1 diabetes. More specifically, I am wondering if there are any loopholes to applying.

Long story short, I was laid off of work from March 2020 to June 2020 due to the pandemic. My most recent claim expired about a month ago (February 2021), and my company says that I am short of working the 1250 hours in the last calendar year.

Well, duh! Of course I don’t have that; I didn’t work for three months. I have tried to research online if there are any national changes for FMLA due to the pandemic. All I can find is information about companies that employ less than 500 employees. My work employs more than 500+.

I have already contacted my son’s endocrinologist office. They wrote a letter to management, but my work said that FMLA requirements are nation-wide.

I am looking to see if anyone might have advise, or if anyone here is a lawyer and may have more information. Please, please let me know! I appreciate you time!

Hi, Anne, and welcome to Type One Nation! We can’t give legal advice here any more than we can give medical advice, but it’s a terrific group of people with experience from living with T1D themselves or caring for someone who has it.

I’m afraid I’m not understanding your situation, either, really. Were you on FMLA to care for your son when you were laid off? When was your son diagnosed? How is he doing? How about you?

It’s a tough disease, the pandemic sucks, and everything’s harder when you’re stressed. Write back, and I hope you’re hanging in there!

I was not on TOTAL FMLA before being laid off. I had FMLA to care for him (ie. doctor appointments, urgent lows); so pretty much intermittent care.

He was diagnosed about 4 years ago at the age of 8. He is approaching his 12th bday soon here in May. Diabetically, he is all over the place on an Omnipod and Dexcom g6. Our endo states this is due to puberty.

Forgive the series of questions: I’m trying to understand the situation:

  • Did the same company then rehire you?
  • With the same intermittent FMLA protection you had before, which remained in place through February?
  • But they’re saying you don’t qualify going forward because you didn’t work enough hours for them over the last year (b/c they laid you off for three months)?

My daughter’s on the same set-up, and she’s a new 12 (diagnosed at 6). I feel for you. One thing that helped us tremendously was programming a bunch of different basal rates. Maybe you’re doing this already, but just in case:

When my daughter started on the pod, the endo then (we have someone we like better now) kept it super-simple. But especially as she started having those crazy hormone surges and growth spurts over night, she’s now got literally twice as much basal at midnight as she does at noon, and there are different steps up and down in between, too, which really has helped. I wish the Horizon was out already, but until then, we’re way better off than when we started.

No worries. I appreciate your time!

  1. Yes, I was re-hired by the same company, working there almost 4.5 years now.
  2. My intermittent FMLA claim expired in March-ish. This was the same claim that had been in place since 2020.
  3. Correct. I did not meet the 1250 hours within the last calendar year; mostly because I was laid off for the 3 months.

Okay. And now they’re refusing to let you take time off for your son’s dr.’s visits, etc.? Has it happened yet, and how has it been handled so far? Or if it hasn’t come up yet, how have they said they’ll handle it?

Correct. I am not allowed to take time off for my son’s doc appointments, urgent lows, etc. Luckily, it has not come up yet. HOWEVER, if I do need to take off time for the above reasons, I will be required to take PTO, and time off will be counted as an absence.

I’m not finding anything promising about any changes to the 1250-hour requirement in recognition of pandemic layoffs, but I’m also not an employment lawyer. I did find the contact information for the Dept. of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which is apparently where you start if you have FMLA compliance questions:

call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone,
1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243), as well as the listing for each state’s DOL office:

Sorry I couldn’t be more help!