Be the Boss Over Cancer

In a few weeks, our institution will change contractors to provide services; I will be going to work for the new contractor. I will start treatments in the next few weeks before the new contractor is in place. If FMLA is granted for employees who work for a company for more than 12 months, it doesn't look like I can take FMLA.  I will need to potentially take 1 day off every 3 weeks. How can I be protected, so I do not lose my job. I need to be able to continue to work.


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  • Alice McKenney

    Alice McKenney on Feb 28, 2012

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Carmen,

    This is a great question.  I think there may be some nuances to your situation since you are staying within the same corporation, but switching contracts.  The Cancer Legal Resource Center can help you work out what your rights in this particular situation are (their contact information is below). You might want to explore the ADA with them, in addition to the FMLA, as you may be able to get that time off as a reasonable accommodation.

    If none of those situations work, will you have any sick or vacation time available to you? Perhaps you could use these until you have completed treatment? Or are telecommuting or flex-time an option?

    Cancer Legal Resource Center Contact:

    Toll Free: (866) THE-CLRC or (866) 843-2572

    Phone: (213) 736-1455

    TDD: (213) 736-8310

    Fax: (213) 736-1428




  • Carmen  S.

    Carmen S. on Feb 28, 2012

    I am afraid that since I have not started with the new company, I will not have any vacation or sick time yet. I don't even know what the benefit package will look like. I feel that I am in a really uncharted and sticky situation. I guess I will post what comes next.

  • Margot Larson

    Margot Larson on Feb 29, 2012

    Career Coach Comment:

    Carmen –

    Here are some of the questions that you might be able to
    explore with Human Resources at your current employer:

     Is your prior service being transferred/credited, or are you
    being hired as a new employee for this contractor?

    What about current unused vacation and sick time?  Ask about the benefits being offered by the
    new contractor.  This is a reasonable
    question to explore.

     If you already have 12 months of continued service, could
    you apply for FMLA right now under the current employer?

     By the way, did you interview to get the position or were
    all employees transferred to the new contractor?

    Since you appear to be starting treatment before you leave the current employer, your current benefits may take precedence and protect you.

    You may also want to look into your state laws that may be
    more beneficial than federal when it comes to ADA and FMLA.

     Be sure to utilize the legal resources available to you to
    explore and to seek an advocate.

    Also use your network to find a Human Resource Professional
    or a Consultant in your state who is knowledgeable about the options available
    to you.

     Please keep us posted.


  • Judi Swedek

    Judi Swedek on Mar 3, 2012

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi Carmen,

    I agree with Margot's advice. Start reaching out now in your current capacity to determine ability to access FMLA. In addition, find out what is being transferred to the new company in terms of leave. Many times the new contracting company will bridge the experience so you don't lose out on benefits.

    Be your own advocate, do your research, and act quickly during this time before the transition. It may be the time that you need to be able to research and utilize the resources you need.

    With warm regards,


  • Carmen  S.

    Carmen S. on Mar 4, 2012

    Thanks everyone for your comments. They are very helpful. I have already signed up for FMLA and have used 2 weeks with the current company. I will call their rep tomorrow and see if it is transferrable. The current company has been great about everything.  I did not interview for the job. There are only 3 of us affected by the change and we were rolled into the company.  At this point, none of us have an offer letter or had the opportunity to  HR for the new company. We probably will do so this week or early next week. I am not sure if the sick time will transfer. I pretty much doubt it, but I guess we'll see. Thanks, everyone. I will let you know what happens. Carmen

  • Judi Swedek

    Judi Swedek on Mar 4, 2012

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi Carmen, sending best wishes to you. It sounds like you are very well regarded in the company. That should work in your favor. I'd also suggest that you go into the new company "assuming"that the time will transfer. Since this is being done and orchestrated by others, assume positive intent, that they will keep you whole. If we come from a position of strength, it's sometimes amazing how the doors will open for us. Judi

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