At Appleseed we have long worked on programs that help people work. Often called “work supports,” these are the things in our lives that make it possible for us to go to work and maintain our jobs. One clear example is child care. Having a safe place for our children to go while we work – whether that is a family member’s home or a quality child care provider or preschool – makes it possible for us to go to work.
Another work support is the Family Medical Leave Act which allows workers to take care of critical family needs without risking their positions at their job. The following guest blog provides a great example of how work supports can maintain a family’s health and stability.
A little over four months ago, my wife and I had our second child. Maggie came right on time and has been a very healthy and happy baby. However, soon after my wife delivered via Cesarean section, she developed a worsening pain and bruising in her abdomen. She should have been recovering but instead was feeling worse. A severe hematoma was the diagnosis and three weeks after Maggie was born, we were scheduled to have outpatient surgery.
On the day of the surgery I waited what appeared to be an unusually long time and finally met with the doctor. He said that due to the nature of my wife’s condition, outpatient surgery had become an inpatient hospital stay and my wife’s recovery would start all over. After the four days in the hospital to recover (with me at home most of the time to take care of our two children) my wife came home and required my assistance around the clock. My boss was very understanding and suggested that I submit paperwork for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to secure my position. Because of this leave I was able to take care of my wife and children and not worry about whether my employment would be impacted.
Before FMLA, I’m sure a father in my position was faced with a painful choice: Do I try to keep my job and support my family, or do I focus on my family and suffer the consequences later? How many foreclosures resulted because parents lost their jobs and were unable to find work after their family member recovered? I’m SO thankful that this support system was in place for me.