Hopeful Sensitivity Would Be Displayed
I have lived most of my life in Old Saybrook. I’ve worked for the town for a total of 20 years and I’ve been involved in various committees and organizations. Until Aug. 15, I worked 30 hours a week as a Town Hall Administrator.
My husband has Parkinson’s Disease, which has advanced to include dementia among other cognitive impairments. During this time, I only took sick time when I was needed. On June 1, my husband returned home from his recent long-term hospitalization; I took Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to resettle him at home and arrange for the care he requires, which is 24 hours a day.
The time I was permitted ended and I was to resume my job. Due to delays in processing documents and shortages of healthcare staff, I was only able to arrange for 22 of the 30 hours of needed care for my husband. I requested a temporary work hour modification for 22 hours a week until the other eight hours could be covered; this request was turned down by the First Selectman. The night before my scheduled return, my husband needed medical attention so I emailed a sick day request to the appropriate parties. The next day I received an email stating that I was no longer considered an employee. I’m devastated and heartbroken about this – I needed a temporary modification in order to get my husband the care he needs.
There isn’t any compassion, empathy, consideration, or care for me as a dedicated employee. I know that I’m only entitled to the 12 weeks per year for FMLA leave, but I was hopeful that sensitivity would be displayed and flexibility regarding my work schedule would be granted. Is that too much to ask from the Town administrators?
Ellen E. O'Herlihy