While some of the initial shock of the pandemic has died down, some people are still getting and transmitting COVID-19. The recovery is relatively quick for some, but for others, it can drag on for a long time.
When you are recovering from COVID or helping a loved one through COVID, it can limit your ability to work and provide for your family. In addition to limited financial resources, you may fear losing your job because you need time to care for yourself or your family.
Here’s what you should know about your right to use FMLA leave to care for someone with long COVID.
What is long COVID?
For some, it can take weeks or months before they stop experiencing symptoms of COVID. While there is no specific test to determine if your bout with COVID has become Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome (or long COVID-19), if it has been 30 days or more and you are not improving, it could indicate you have long COVID. Common symptoms of long COVID typically include:
- Fatigue that limits your daily living
- Changes in smell or taste
- Heart palpitations
- Continued coughing
When these symptoms persist, it can be challenging to return to your routine and resume your daily living habits.
Seeking FMLA leave
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives you the right to take unpaid leave from work to care for yourself or a family member without fearing losing your job. Depending on the care you or your loved one need, you may also look to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to seek an accommodation, such as:
- An adjusted work schedule
- Modified equipment
- Reassignment to a vacant position
Keep in mind that there are limitations to the types of accommodations your employer must make. Still, you may be able to find a suitable option that will support your needs.
Dealing with the impact of long COVID can be stressful. It is important to remember that you have rights as an employee, and you may need to talk to a skilled attorney about your options under the various worker protection laws.