How to Get Paid Time Off for Mental Issues

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It is common practice at any place of work that if someone gets physically ill, they should take some time off to recover at home rather than go to work and risk infecting others or getting worse. The same thing goes for women giving birth or employees undergoing medical procedures. When it comes to suffering from a mental health issue, employees should also be allowed to take some time off to heal just as they would if they had any other physical illness. Nowadays, there are laws in place that guarantee the right for any employee to take paid time off to recover from or deal with any mental health issue they may be suffering from. Here is how you can ask for a paid leave of absence if you even find yourself in a similar position. 

Check Your FMLA Eligibility

Every country has its own laws when it comes to taking paid leave for mental health issues. In the US, the Family Medical Leave Act, or what is commonly known as the FMLA, is the go-to law in such situations. All employers have an obligation towards their employees who ask for time off to deal with mental health issues that obstruct the way they carry on the work, as covered by the FMLA. If you are looking to cite that law when you file for some time off to deal with stress or any mental health-related issues, then you would need to check your eligibility first as FMLA does not cover everything. You would need to prove that your stress levels are high, that you are incapable of doing work effectively, and that your stress is starting to affect your overall well being. You would also have to work at your company for over a year before you could take paid leave under the FMLA. If you meet all the criteria, then use it to take some time off and focus on your health. 

Get Short Term Disability Time Off

Similar to any other illness, mental health problems differ in severity from one person to another. Some people suffer from chronic conditions that they get treated for their entire lives. Whereas for others, mental health issues may be severe but not chronic. For those with psychiatric concerns that continue to increase in severity, getting short time disability (STD) paid leave might be the best option. While many people may not realize it, in certain cases, mental health problems get to the point of being treated as a disability. Whether it is a chronic disability or a short term disability depends on each case. If you can get a doctor’s note certifying that you suffer from a short term disability relating to your mental health, then you can easily ask for paid time off. 

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Ask for Sick Leave

Any employee at any establishment should have the right to ask for sick days off that are fully paid. Employers would not always ask what your illness is exactly and if you are not interested in sharing such details then you should not have to. You can use your sick days to focus on your mental health and get away from anything causing you stress or anxiety. In many cases, paid sick leave days would not be that many, but they can help you out if you are suffering from short term issues that you can recover from by simply being away from work for a short while. 

Use Your Paid Time Off Days

Similar to sick leave days, any contracted employee has to have paid time off days or a set of annual leave days that are fully paid for. Most people like to save those days for holidays but if you are really struggling with your mental wellbeing and cannot find any other way, then you might want to consider using these days to focus on those issues. Your employer does not have to know any specific details if you do not want to share them and it would be entirely up to you whether or not you choose to let them know. 

A person’s mental well being is just as important as their physical well being. Sometimes, life can be really overwhelming that the only way to deal with the struggles that keep on coming your way is to take some time off to recover and come back with improved clarity. You need to remember that wherever you work, there are laws in place to guarantee that you have a right to take some time off, one way or another, to focus on your mental health. Make sure you consult with a medical professional if you continue to struggle so that you can start feeling better.

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