Should I ask for a FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) form?

Being Dx with Psoriatic Arthritis of type Spondylitis, I was wondering if I qualify for an FMLA form to be filed at work. And if so, should I get one?


Why are you unable to work and independently wealthy? FMLA only holds your job open, it isn't a paid leave.

I think you do qualify. I got one when my back went totally south on me and that was nowhere near as dire as your situation.

Lamb makes a good point - you won't get paid for the time off. But on the other hand, if you're in agony, you may not have a choice in the matter. Do you have any sort of disability insurance? If so, they will ask tons and tons of questions and demand tons of paperwork and doctor documentation of you. Just be aware that they are difficult to work with and satisfy. It can be done but you'll need to be patient and diligent.

Best of luck with you. If you take FMLA, I hope you get some medicines that set you on the right path towards less pain and better health.

From what I have read, FMLA allows you intermittent time off, not just consecutive time off. In other words, you are allowed to take more sick days then what your job normally allows. From what I have read, you get up to 12 weeks of intermittent days with an FMLA form. I think I will go ahead and ask my Dr. for FMLA. I guess I was wondering if anyone else has an FMLA form on file at their work place. And if so, how well it has worked out for them.

Here is the link to FMLA:

There are three different kinds of FMLA leave:

  1. Continuous FMLA leave: An employee is absent for more than three consecutive business days and has been treated by a doctor.
  2. Intermittent FMLA leave: An employee is taking time off in separate blocks due to a serious health condition that qualifies for FMLA. Intermittent leave can be in hourly, daily, or weekly increments. Intermittent FMLA is often taken when an employee needs ongoing treatment for their condition.
  3. Reduced schedule FMLA leave: An employee needs to reduce the amount of hours they work per day or per week, often to care for a family member or to reduce stress.
    I hope this helps everyone to understand FMLA.
    Learn it! Live it! Breath it! Use it!
    I always wanted to say that, hahaha.


I’m in the process of doing mine and am also going to ask my rheumy for any suggested medical accommodations, like ergo desk set ups, special chairs, etc, that might help prevent issues for people like us. There is stuff about fmla on the NPF website and how it applies to PsA.

It was easy for me to get FMLA where I work. The doctor just had to fill out a couple of pages form. I use it for bad days or doctor appointments. I don't get paid for missed time. They use up my sick and vacation time and after that it would be unpaid. It has really helped me relax and rest when I need to without being afraid of losing my job. Good luck!

Be VERY careful. in other words ask around about your employer. Approval of FMLA is largely up to the employer for chronic conditions. AdA does not force them to operate their business at a disadvantage. Even if they initially approve, you CAN overuse pretty easily. It isn't something you can "bank" for latter if you don't need it right away. It is superceded by ADA.

What this means is they can make accommodations to make it easier to do your job. If those accommodations aren't sufficient and you are consistently using your FMLA on an inconsistent basis for "bad days", your employer can be a real butt and let you go (and believe me it happens regularly, but again this varies by employer ask around) If you have bad days in excess of your sick leave be sure and have a doctors notes EACH TIME.

If you are newly diagnosed, don't get in a hurry. learn your disease and limitations.

They will simply say that even with accommodation you are unable to do your job and discharge you because they have no position available for your abilities.

If you are newly diagnosed, don't get in a hurry. Learn your disease and limitations. Have the paperwork ready BUT.....

Also check your employment contract CAREFULLY. There is no obligation for them to continue "Benefits" during leave periods larger companies will likley have this covered in their employment contracts (employee manual...) You could lose a fair number of sick and vaction days. Depending on your company if you are in part compenstaed by bonus. That can be pro-rated or even eliminated.

Like I say some companies can be great, others can be less than great. I don't mean to sound harsh but just because you have a chronic disease, it is unrealistic to expect, even with ADA or FMLA, your employers bean counting department will care. be Very careful before you run in with "accommodations" and "forms"

I’m with the lamb here - I only informed my employers because my onset was like being hit by a truck - and it takes minimum 3 months to get to a Rhuemy and treated in aus ( unless you end up in er, and that still doesn’t make it faster often).

Once I got MTX, I told the employers that it was all under control with a simple pill. it’s not, but they are a small company, and from their point of view they need to count on me. So as long as I need that job, I’m going to have to find a way that allows them to count on me to get stuff done.

Frustrated :frowning:

FMLA is Federal Law!

tntlamb, I know that you mean well and are trying to help all of us with FMLA and the workings of it. However, I respectfully disagree with the following that you posted above:

"Be VERY careful. in other words ask around about your employer. Approval of FMLA is largely up to the employer for chronic conditions."

FMLA was established under the Clinton administration for the following purposes:

  • (b) PURPOSES.--It is the purpose of this Act--
    • (1) to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families, to promote the stability and economic security of families, and to promote national interests in preserving family integrity;
    • (2) to entitle employees to take reasonable leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption of a child, and for the care of a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition;
    • (3) to accomplish the purposes described in paragraphs (1) and (2) in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers;
    • (4) to accomplish the purposes described in paragraphs (1) and (2) in a manner that, consistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, minimizes the potential for employment discrimination on the basis of sex by ensuring generally that leave is available for eligible medical reasons (including maternity-related disability) and for compelling family reasons, on a gender-neutral basis; and
    • (5) to promote the goal of equal employment opportunity for women and men, pursuant to such clause.

In our case the purpose would fall under paragraph (2) to entitle employees to take reasonable leave for medical reasons.

What are the leave requirements?

(D) Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of such employee.

What is a "serious health condition?

  • (11) SERIOUS HEALTH CONDITION. The term "serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves
    • (A) inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
    • (B) continuing treatment by a health care provider.

We obviously fall under paragraph (B) continuing treatment by a health care provider, i.e. chronic illness. A chronic illness is an illness that is treated by your health care provider at least 3 times a year. PsA is a chronic illness.

All of the exerts were taken from the law. You can find it at the following link:

As you read the law, you discover that there is no need to "Ask around about your employer" (This isn't the wild west where they follow FMLA if they feel like it. IT'S THE LAW!!! You will also discover that THE LAW, not your employer, decides who is eligible for FMLA. Gheez, if it were up to your employer to decide, then FMLA would be a waist of time, because no employer would decide in your favor. It would be like the wild west, employers doing what they wanted. This is why FMLA was created in the first place. The "A" in FMLA is "Act". It is a mandate, not an option. IT IS THE LAW!!!!

That said:

JenAus, in your case, it sounds like you work for a very small company. FMLA is a mandate for companies that have 50 or more employees. Your company may not have 50 employees, thus they would not have to comply with FMLA. In your case, it is the wild west. Your employer can do as they please.


if you had said:

"if you work for a small company with less then 50 employees then you need to be VERY careful. in other words ask around about your employer. Approval of FMLA is largely up to the employer for chronic conditions."

Then I would agree with you, more importantly, the Federal government would agree with you.


Learn it! Live it! Breath it! Use it!

There, I got to say it again, hahaha.


I firmly believe if you have moderate to
severe psa to apply for FMLA. I was able to work from 2003 until my retirement in 2012 with it. By government standards I worked disabled this entire time what really led to my retirement was a severe reaction to Imuran which led to two week hospital stay which led to skin infection which led to another almost deadly …

Reaction to vancomycin called Steven Johnson’s syndrome…I was lifelined to our states capitol for 3 months I was in the hospital thank god for FMLA and for short and long term ins. I did have wonderful support from my employer as well as all of my directors. You never know when you might need it was my point lol got a little off point

I don't know what planet you live on Joel, But if you believe you are totally "protected under the law" its not this one. There is only one state in the Union that does not have "at will employment" If FMLA is not ABSOLUTELY necessary, depending on the company (which is why you ask around) you don't "apply" for it until you need it. A course of treatment for cancer, broken leg, pregnancy, are one thing when there is a beginning and an end. But a piece of paper stating an employee may be gone at at any moment for any amount of time exceeding sick leave is another.

If there is a down sizing, guess who will be up first ? All they need do is let at least one other person in the department go. Promotion? Guess who won't be at the top of the list. A need in a less critical part of the company which may be a career dead end, guess who will be transferred

You believe an under pressure supervisor's attitude won't effect performance reviews? Those performance reviews will effect a career.

They may have to honor the leave request, but there is NO law that prevents a company from making decisions that have an effect on their strength, viability and profitability. A company with 50 employees or more also more than likely has a professional and well trained HR person and access to employment attorneys giving them the upper hand dealing with a potential problem.

Another possibility for a company is to have an impairment rating done. If its a CHRONIC illness, then there is no hope of improvement. Depending what the rating is an employee can be anything from reassigned, to discharged.

One common tactic is to run out the max FMLA have an additional impairment rating done and discharge from there. No company is required to retain an employee that can't do the job. If the impairment rating can also effect the granting of FMLA.

I know a bit about a lot of things and a whole lot about a few. This is one of them.

I commented because one of the things that newly diagnosed folk sometime do is think OMG, my life is over. And immediatly start with workplace adaptations, FMLA and even a few start disability.... MOST PsA (about 90%) continue to live and work their entire lives perhaps making change perhaps not as treatment takes place. Doesn't mean we wouldn't like to work pain free. A new diagnoses doesn't change a whole lot for most. Its just confirmation of what they have been doing for and going through for years. A person needs to take a deep breath learn to live with what they have got before they make a lot of changes or make decisions that have a long term effect, that may not need to be.

The fact is we live with this disease and have little choice. I'm not sure how many could live and support a family on a 1000.00 or so/month disability which gets reduced after 2 years by 200.00+/month for medicare.


One of two things are going on here:

1. You work in an HR department and don't want your employees and/or others to know about FMLA.


2. You always need to be right.

If you took the time to read the whole law, I did, then you would know that it is illegal for an employer to file your FMLA form in an employees main file. They must be stored in an entirely seperate place. Also, it is against the law for your employer's HR to inform your Supervisors that you have an FMLA form on file in HR. It is also illegal for a company to pass you up on promotions because you have an FMLA form. It is also illegal for them to terminate you because you have an FMLA form on file.

I agree with some of your points and yes, there is a chance that some of the above actions can be taken and yes larger companies do have access to lawyers. However, they also stand the chance of being sued, a big chance. For you to tell people on this site to not persue an FMLA form is WAY OVER THE TOP. At least be fair about your posts. You said: "Approval of FMLA is largely up to the employer for chronic conditions" That is totally not true. Approval, is established by FMLA not by employers. Come on man, at least step up to the plate on that one.

I personally know 3 people at my company that have an intermittent FMLA on file. I also have several friends that have told me they know people at work that have FMLA on file. None of them have ever told me that they were being discriminated against because they had an FMLA on file. In fact, I found out about FMLA from one of those friends. It is very obvious that you are TOTALLY AGAINST FMLA. That is ok, that is what makes the world spin around. But for you to blatantly lie about who and how FMLA is approved, I find that totally irresponsible. a more responsible approach would have been to tell everyone how you feel about it and if your not sure about how the approval process works, just say that. Don't just pull something out of your you know what, because you don't agree with it.

As for me, I work for a sorry azz company that has lousy pay and sucky work hours. So I welcome that chance to sue their sorry azz. If they were to respect their employees, WHICH THEY DON'T, then I might be a little bit more concerned about the effects of FMLA. I may even try to avoid filing an FMLA form if I have to. However, I would not get on here and tell people that they shouldn't file. Give them fair information and let them decide what is best for them. After all, that is what this website is all about. Give each other information, not dis-information.


Why, because I have gentle finesse. HEhehehe!

Neither Joel, I said don't file unless you NEED to. As I said t here are a few things I know a lot about. Employment law is one of them. A simple request for an impairment rating for a chronic condition is all that is necessary. If you carefully
read the law, you will find no where that a simple statement from a personal physician is all that is necessary to derail the whole thing. You can sue the hell out of somebody, but your chance of beating a well documented HR department are less than 1 in 50. As said only state in the Union is not at will employment. The burden of proof is low for the employer.

By all means if you absolutley need the time ask for it. but be sure that you do. There is no advantage to having the.. paperwork filed until necessary. It need not be filed until sick leave is used up.

I have one on file at work. I have only had to call in twice in the last year. My HR actually suggested to get it so I don't have to worry about my attendence. I think you should talk about it with your HR department and your doctor. I'm glad I have it.

Hi Joe, each country is different and each has its own laws. After 22 years service in my company , my Doctors have applied for temp disability for me as I have been struggling with psa and depression. I sit at a desk all day and this is killling my back and hip. It was approved today for temp disability which is indefinite for up to 2 years after wich I can qualify for permanent disability. I still get 75% of my salary. Each persons circumstances are different however we owe it to ourselves to get the best possible treatment and we need to do what we feel is best for ourselves. You nedd to do what is best for you. I dont know what the future holds for me but i want to try spend this time to get to a better place and if i go off permanently so be it!! all the best

I am HR and I can only speak for MN. I recommend it only if you absolutely need it. You only have so many sick days, and ounce there gone the hours rebuild slowly. FMLA is mostly for job protection. My boss asked me to take intermittent LOA. My days missed wont go against me and I can use up to 400 hours( or 3 months a year). I think this will be the way to go for me if I have too. I have missed 4 days this year so not too bad, but never missed a day until the PsA flares started. Any questions I can help with, I will answer the best I can!!

Yes u should. I have it. Thank God. I miss days at a time when my back goes out. They understand and work with me. Days dont count against me when i miss for appts or i get down and cant move. U dont get paid. But u wont be fired for days missed. I always schedule my appts after work. It helps us both. I cant afford it. And i never know when its gonna happen. It really helps me out.