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I took a very unexpected LOA (Leave of Absence) for 2 weeks. Here's a little back story:

I suffer from depression. I have never been hospitalized for it, however I see my doctor every 3 months to see how well my medications are holding up for me. I am allowed to have 9 sick days before I get terminated. I had off Monday and Tuesday, called out Wednesday (put me at 8.5 days) was off Thursday and took this unexpected LOA on Friday (went straight to my Primary Care Physician). I have been off Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and I have not called my work yet. I'm not too sure if I have to or not?.. I know it was very unexpected and now I'm afraid that when I go back to work they're going to let me go due to me not following the proper procedures for taking LOA.

I'm going back to my doctor tomorrow so I can gather the paperwork to take into work. I'm thinking of telling them that I wasn't sure how this whole LOA thing worked and ask them if I did everything correctly? To ensure to them that I'm not sure what the procedures are for taking LOA.

Should I ask my HR any questions tomorrow when I see them or just say I didn't know the procedure for taking a LOA?

  • You should have told them what was happening and then appear with a doctors note. Those tend to trump most things. – Snowlockk Mar 14 '17 at 16:02
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I know it was very unexpected and now I'm afraid that when I go back to work they're going to let me go due to me not following the proper procedures for taking LOA.

You didn't take a LOA (you didn't actually get a "leave", you just chose not to show up).

Call your work and explain your situation immediately. Do it before you visit your doctor.

Hopefully, you'll still have a job and your boss and/or HR will tell you what you need to do now. Then follow the instructions carefully - you may need additional paperwork from your doctor, you may need to report to HR, etc.

They will also likely tell you what the policy is for not notifying them about your absence.

  • Definitely call them. You don't have to mention the depression specifically, but saying it's medical or doctor-recommended leave will help your case and may prevent some prodding questions. – David K Mar 14 '17 at 13:47
  • If someone doesn't show up for work because they were in a car wreck, should they also get fired? Depression can easily be as debilitating and it can hit suddenly and make everything impossible. The doctor should be able to provide adequate documentation of illness to HR to justify the absence. – DLS3141 Mar 14 '17 at 17:25
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I'm afraid that when I go back to work they're going to let me go due to me not following the proper procedures for taking LOA.

I'm thinking of telling them that I wasn't sure how this whole LOA thing worked at ask them if I did everything correctly? To ensure them that I'm not sure what the procedures are for taking LOA.

So, you're aware that you're not following proper procedure, but you're not sure what the procedure is? This is going to come across as you're lying or at least obfuscating to dodge out of the way of potential problems.

"I know there were issues with my leave, and I want to address this issue." and then explain. This is FAR PREFERABLE to being a no-call/no-show.

Reasonable accommodation is required in most places for medical issues, and depression is a medical condition. If you're seeing a doctor and he's prescribing medication, you have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment. You don't require hospitalization for a condition to exist. You do have to notify the HR department AHEAD of the absence to give them time to allow for the accommodation unless it was an acute issue (such as hospitalization). Also, most people are not exactly open about mental illness in the workplace, due to the stigma that still exists. I worked at my current job for 2 years before I even asked for a n hour off for therapy, and at that they only tangentially know I'm going to that.

As far as that goes, make it known to HR that you have a condition that requires occasional time off, and figure out what you can do. I had to get a doctor's note to wear specialized headphones to prevent an issue (misophonia), but I don't run out and tell them I'm bipolar. One is overt and might cause issues, the other is a mostly innocuous personal issue that can be handled without a note.

Good luck, and I hope you're feeling less down soon!

  • Updated to reflect this, because it's an excellent point. – SliderBlackrose Mar 14 '17 at 14:44
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This sort of thing should be documented in your contract, of which you should still have a copy of from when you started.

Normally speaking, you should have to contact your direct line manager (unless otherwise stated) and let them know that you weren't going to be in. After a certain point (most likely 2 to 5 days) you will require a note from your doctor.

The best thing you can do is contact and immediately rectify the situation with your manager and then get a note from your doctor. Chances are, you've already breached the terms of your contract. So just be apologetic and understand that from their perspective that you're in the wrong.

Hopefully, it all plays out alright for you.

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