Work leave process is giving me anxiety

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vividgroovy
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17 Dec 2021, 7:27 am

I was on COVID leave from work in October and I still don't understand anything about how the leave process works. Right now I just put in for leave again, even though I don't think I have COVID this time, I have a couple of the symptoms listed on the health screening survey we're required to take. (I think I have a mild sinus infection, but I don't want to take a chance.)

We usually take the survey when we go in to work, however, I was told you could do it from home. I looked through all the menus on the website and nothing. I used the search function and nothing. This kind of thing makes me extremely nervous. It feels like I will search and search and it's never going to end. Finally, when I was just about to give up, I found the link to the survey under "Safety and Cleaning," not on a menu, but in the middle of a paragraph :P.

Once I answered the survey, the website told me to stay home and file another leave of absence. While doing so, I saw that my previous claim from October had been denied due to the lack of a form that was supposed to be filled out by a doctor, which I was unable to get. (I called and explained this to them. Having to make multiple phone calls also gave me anxiety.) The website doesn't explain what the consequences are for the claim being denied. I've already been back to work and none of my supervisors have mentioned any of this. I also tried to file the new claim and it failed to show up. I don't know if it didn't work or if it's processing.

I work in retail and I don't know how my managers are going to react with me being out again so soon and right before Christmas, but I also don't want to go to work sick with COVID going on.

I'm so confused and terrified I'm going to lose my job.



kraftiekortie
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18 Dec 2021, 7:54 pm

I would get a rapid and PCR test, if I were you. A positive COVID test would certainly qualify you for leave.



vividgroovy
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19 Dec 2021, 5:24 am

I agree, that's what I should do.

In October, I didn't get tested because I was too wiped out to leave the house. I pretty much slept all day for two weeks. Everyone outside my fellow anemic family members seemed to be shocked and confused that I didn't rise out of my sick bed and go get tested. By the time I was well enough, I figured I wouldn't show positive anymore, but I've since been told that I might still show positive much later. It was confirmed that we had COVID in our household because my stepfather had to go to the hospital and they tested him.

Getting tested is also complicated by my not having a car. I don't think I should use public transportation or Uber until I confirm I'm not infected. I can't confirm I'm not infected unless I go get tested. Then there's going into the store/pharmacy/office to get tested while potentially being infected...some places offer drive thru testing...but again, I have no car.

I have a home test that I haven't used yet, but like everything else involving this, I've been given contradictory answers regarding my job. My manager said home tests don't count, one of the people I talked to from the company that handles leave said they do. Then, there's articles like this:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/cor ... s-accuracy

Where in one paragraph, they say how great home tests are and in the next one, they say how getting a negative result doesn't mean you aren't infected, it just means it didn't detect it at that moment.



kraftiekortie
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19 Dec 2021, 9:54 am

I see your quandary.

Have you been sick for a long time?



vividgroovy
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19 Dec 2021, 10:47 am

Thanks :).

Only a few days this time. Any more than 3 days requires a leave of absence that is approved by an outside company.



MrsPeel
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19 Dec 2021, 7:26 pm

That sort of thing makes me anxious as well, so I understand.
Firstly, you are doing the right thing by taking sick leave when you are sick, don't be concerned about that.

However, taking special leave designated for covid is likely to be problematic if you don't actually have covid.
So what you need to do is get yourself to a doctor to find out what is wrong and get a sick note for it, so you can apply for the relevant sick leave.
(Or even, in these covid times when a sneeze at work can start a panic, get a clearance note saying you do not have covid and are fit to work, if you feel you are able to go back in).

Hope that helps.



vividgroovy
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20 Dec 2021, 3:51 am

Thanks :).

I am on leave because I have symptoms that are listed on the questionnaire we're given every time we come into work. (Although in this case, I took it from home.) When I answered yes to those questions, the system told me to stay home. (I took a screenshot of that message). And I still have symptoms right now, even though I still don't think it's COVID this time. So as far as I understand it, I'm following the corporate procedure. I'm just not sure how it looks at my store when I am out right during the holiday rush and so soon after I just came back from my previous leave. And I don't know if they will once again expect me to prove I'm sick by having a doctor fill out a form, when I don't have a regular doctor and have been unable to get an appointment any time soon, or if the only reason I was expected to get that form last time was because I didn't know you could access the questionnaire from home. I also don't know if a negative COVID test would allow me to go back to work, or if I'd be expected to wait it out anyway, since that's what the system told me to do.

Even before this, I had a lot of anxiety about my job. My managers are actually very nice, but corporate goes through these cycles of putting on pressure to get more work out of us. My work performance may be totally acceptable one day and the next day, the same level performance may have my managers threatening to write me up. But then, they don't actually write me up. It's very confusing. When I first transferred to this store, I couldn't fold clothes fast enough for them and I was put into maintenance for a couple years. At one point, I had a manager (she's long gone now) who would tell us on a daily basis to put on kneepads and "get on your hands and knees" to clean things, which no other manager before or since ever did. One day she called all the maintenance staff into her office to tell us how much she'd like to fire us all and replace us with a better staff.



vividgroovy
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26 Dec 2021, 8:56 am

UPDATE: My leave was approved by the system. Tomorrow (technically today as it's after midnight) is my return to work date. When my leave began, I called and spoke to a manager, but they called again and left a message to call them back. I called every day since and was never able to get through to a person. There is frequently nobody there to answer the phone.

(Management sent me a Christmas card, which I guess is a good sign.)

I was removed from the work schedule, but now the website and app say they can't load the latest schedule updates (possibly because the store was closed for Christmas Day). As of Dec. 24th, I was still not on the schedule at all and thus, not scheduled for tomorrow. I have anxiety that when I wake up, it will turn out I was already supposed to be there. I struggle with time management. The only way I get up, get ready and get someplace on time is if I know I absolutely have to be there.

Furthermore, I'm not sure if I need to confirm my return to work date on the website, since this time, the system chose the date, not me. On one page of the website, it says "Confirm return to work date" with a box next to it, but checking the box just removes the notification that says "Confirm return to work date." There's another place to click, but all that does is have you submit a different return to work date. I considered doing that, so I would know I don't have to go to work tomorrow, but I'm afraid it will undo their approval of my leave.

TL;DR -- The entire leave process makes me feel like I'm bumping around a maze, just wasting time, never knowing if I'm going in the right direction.