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DFreeman0909

Are They Allowed To Do This?

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My husband is working at a very small company in Texas.  Six full time employees.  They offer no benefits insofar as health insurance, 401K, disability, etc.  They give 3 weeks vacation time each year.  No sick time.  He got the flu this year and took some time off, which counted against his vacation time.

 

In December my husband is scheduled to have a minor outpatient procedure and his company is giving him a very hard time about it.  They are only "allowing" him to be away from work for the surgery if he gets X number of units build before his scheduled surgery date. 

 

Additionally, they are making him borrow against next year's vacation time and are allowing him 1 week away from work, when his doctor-recommended recovery time for no heavy lifting/limited physical activity is 2-4 weeks.  His job is labor intensive.

 

Since they are a small company and have no formal policies around disability, sick time, etc., are they allowed to do this?  Or does Texas law stipulate employers must fall under a more blanketed set of rules that might protect him from the possibility of losing his job?

 

Thanks for any guidance.

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Agreed. It is a shame if the company can not offer more leave but being as there are only 6 employees, it is huge burden when one is out. The company may limit the length of time they may offer, regardless of the reason for the absence. The lack of other benefits other employers might offer does not change this in any way.

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Hi DFreeman0909,

 

As the other posters have said, your husband's employer is not required to grant him leave from work to recover. Please check out this overview article on Family and Medical Leave. The article covers federal medical/family leave laws, but note that Texas's state laws are even less generous...

 

Perhaps jumping the gun, but if the company does end up letting him go, please look into filing for unemployment benefits, ASAP. This will help ease the financial shock if you and he are heavily dependent on his income. FindLaw has a free helpful informational guide on what to do after a job loss that covers final paychecks, severance, and filing for unemployment insurance. Best of luck to you both!

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Thanks folks.  Unfortunately, I'm not even sure if he would qualify for unemployment, seeing as he is a conditional legal permanent resident (not a US citizen).  Next year he gets his conditions lifted - it's just part of the marriage-based visa process.  

 

The job hunt is on, that's for sure.  We are very blessed in that we have some savings and I have a few industry connections.

 

Hope none of you ever half to walk in our shoes - it's not fun, I'll tell ya that!  But we'll get through.

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Remember, you're in Texas.  :)  At any rate, unemployment benefits there (some would say remarkably) don't hinge on being a U.S. citizen.  (Unsure why you-he wouldn't google the topic.)

 

http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/unemployment-benefits-services.html

 

"They give 3 weeks vacation time each year."

Fairly extraordinary given size of the company, even without provision for paid sick leave.  Kinda silly of them to call it "vacation" time/leave (if they do).

 

Rather obviously, if your husband needs the surgery, he needs the surgery.  He isn't obligated to worry about permission.  If they fire him for being out, he should qualify for unemployment benefits.

 

"Additionally, they are making him borrow against next year's vacation time ..."

Either he's used all accrued leave for 2014 or he hasn't.  We also cannot know whether the company has a use or lose leave policy and whether being out overlaps with the end of the calendar or fiscal year (or employment anniversary date ... however employer calculates it).

 

Unless what he does is super specialized, one would think that they can get a temp worker who might be able to do things under your husband's direction until such time as he can do X labor-intensive thing himself (a/k/a light duty).  Or folks can work overtime.  Husband hopefully won't ignore doctor's advice to the extent it's mandatory as to recovery time (vs. advice doctor gives 'cause (s)he wants to avoid any question of liability due to inadequate advice).  Risking health/condition because he's worried about losing job isn't a good idea, as you'll realize (and workers' comp is not a replacement for wages and is also a pain in the ass). 

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