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09/14/2022 08:00 AM

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

Old Saybrook