Need advice on taking a long leave of absence from work
July 5, 2013 1:10 AM Subscribe
I need to ask my boss for around 6 months off from work to care for a sick family member. Help me figure out how to do it right.
posted by miyabo to Work & Money (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a mid-level software engineer at a giant company where I've worked for about 2 years. I took a week of regular vacation from work to visit a family member in a different city who has been sick for some time. I just got here, and discovered that they are in much worse shape than I had gathered from phone calls. I need to spend about 6 months in this city to take care of them (it is unlikely they will live more than 6 months).
I am not concerned about money. I have enough savings that I can not get paid for six months and it won't be a big deal. However, I am very concerned about impacting my job prospects in the future negatively. I do not want to have a difficult conversation in future job interviews about why I was not working for an extended period of time.
As I see it, I have 3 options:
1) Take my entire vacation allotment for the year (3 weeks) plus 12 weeks of FMLA leave. This only gets me to 4 months though, so I would likely have to ask for additional unpaid leave. Also, I am frankly worried about being bored out of my mind while sitting around in a hotel room waiting for things to happen. I would prefer to keep working in some form for at least part of the time.
2) Ask to telecommute for 1-2 months, and then take a long leave of absence. I am not at all certain my boss would allow me to do this though. He is pretty old school and may well not allow it. Not sure how to explain to coworkers why I get to break the rules and work from home.
3) Resign my position. Work on open source projects or short term contracts for a couple of months, then take off entirely for a couple of months, then plan to get a new job when this is all over. I am very worried about how this would look on my résumé though.
Clearly I am going to have to have a very difficult phone call with my boss on Monday (remember, I am still on vacation and he has absolutely no idea about any of this). I need some advice about what I can realistically expect, and how to ask for it. I am basically terrified of getting fired or being unemployable in 6 months. I am worried he will accuse me of not being honest with him about my relative's illness (although I was mostly in the dark myself). What is the right thing to do here?