Thursday, February 25, 2010

Balancing Your Health with Family and Work

There is currently no state or federal law that requires employers to provide a minimum number of sick days to their employees.  This creates several issues for people living with multiple sclerosis, since MS can have varying effects on a person’s ability to work.  This situation is also difficult for those serving as caregivers due to the disease's unpredictable nature.  The federal government provides some benefits to workers under The Family Medical Leave Act, which provides 12 weeks unpaid leave to eligible employees. People who have FMLA coverage may use this time to care for their own needs or the needs of a sick family member. However, businesses with less than 50 employees are not required to offer FMLA benefits. Additionally, the FMLA does not require paid sick leave, so many people who are covered by the FMLA can not afford to take advantage of the benefits provided.

The North Carolina Chapters joined NC's Paid Sick Days Coalition to support efforts to develop legislation that would provide employees in our state with up to seven paid sick days a year. The coalition's first success was the appointment of the Joint Select Committee on Work and Family Balance. The Committee has to look at both the needs of employees as well as the sustainability of small businesses. Currently, the coalition is looking at additional policies that, if enacted, would help create a more family-friendly workplace.

If you have MS, or are a caregiver for someone with MS, and lost your job due to taking time off work, we need to know!  Additionally, if you are a small business owner and would like to voice your opinion, this is the place to do it. Share with us your comments and concerns so we can address them!
Click here for information on employment issues for people with MS.
Click here for more information on FMLA and ADA.

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