Can my company mandate me to come to meetings on my scheduled days off?

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Can my company mandate me to come to meetings on my scheduled days off?

My son has autism and we have regular 3-4 afternoons a week of therapies/appointments scheduled to help him per doctor’s order. To fullfill these obligations I also homeschool him. I work full time weekends only. Recently my company started mandated meetings twice a month. I was able to change one appointment but cannot change the other and that meeting is only offered on Wed at 2 pm, the same time as his appointment. Is it legal for them to mandate me on my regular days off? Can I get FMLA to cover missing these meeting so I can take my son to the doctor?

Asked on April 15, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) Can your employer require you to come to meetings on your scheduled day off? Yes, unless you have an employment contract which sets your schedule--if you do, then the contractually agreed-upon schedule is enforceable. Otherwise, employers determine employee hours, schedules, and shifts, and may change them at will.

2) Can use FMLA leave (unpaid) for this time? Possibly: FMLA may be used to provide medical care for a family member's serious medical condition. The first question is whether autism, which is a development issue, would meet the qualifications of a serious medical condition for this purpose; that is a question best discussed in detail with an attorney with experience in this field (try contacting employment law attorneys--they will either have the experience, from working with FMLA, or could refer you to an attorney who does; another source of recommendations would be an autism support group).

Assuming the autism would qualify as a serious medical condition for FMLA purposes, the other hurdles are--

1) is your employer covered--it must have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius; and

2) do you qualify--you must have worked for this employer for 12 months, and must have worked at least 1,250 hours (or an average of 25 hours per week) during the  past 12 months.

Only if both 1) and 2) are met are you potentially eligible for FMLA  leave. I'm included links to two helpful pages put out by the  Dept. of Labor this topic below:

http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.pdf

http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/finalrule/NonMilitaryFAQs.pdf


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