In December 2013, I received a diagnosis of a chronic illness that had been impacting my health for several years, and had begun to impact my work ability and performance.
While working with my doctors for treatment options, and after several failed pharmaceutical treatments, it was recommended that the most beneficial treatment was a temporary and sustained reduction in both my workload and my 80 mile daily commute, which were negatively impacting my body’s ability to heal.
Working with my doctor, and in consultation with my supervisor and the human resources department at my employer, UMass Boston, I was able to take intermittent leave that allowed me to take 2 days off per week for resting and recovery.
I was fortunate that my employer offered paid sick time and vacation time which had accumulated and allowed for me to take off approximately 48 paid work days to give my body time to heal. If I had not accumulated paid time off, I would not have been able to afford to take off two unpaid days per week for six months, and my health would have declined even more severely. I had to exhaust the entirety of my paid time off in order to take sufficient time for my body to recover and recuperate.
Using intermittent leave to care for my own personal health was one of the most important things I have done for my health and well-being. I feel strongly that ALL workers in Massachusetts deserve access to paid leave – whether for their own health, the birth or adoption of a child, to take care of an aging parent, to help a loved one treat their addiction, or whatever situation may arise. This should not be contingent on whether your employer is large enough or kind enough to offer you benefits to access financial security during stressful times in your life.