What did you tell your place of employment, and when?

Autum1031 Posts: 83 Member
I have a surgery date of 11/9, though I'm still waiting to hear about the final insurance approval. I will need to speak with my manager & HR soon about the surgery, but not sure what to say. For people who have done this surgery before, what worked best for you?

I also need to tread very carefully because I've been unexpectedly quite ill for the past 2 months, which has affected my ability to work from the office. (see my other post about my undiagnosed illness). My manager was very supportive about me working from home and taking things easy, but I doubt either of us expected it to last 2 months and counting. I also think, based on my current, poor condition, I'm not going to be one of those people bouncing back to work after surgery--probably be one of the people needing some extra time.


  • creepykbear
    creepykbear Posts: 69 Member
    I'm not sure if you are full or part time, or in the US, but if you are full time in the US there is FMLA (family medical leave act) they have to give you 12 weeks off in a calendar year with no penalty to your job, assuming you've worked enough hours in the previous year. I would let them know ASAP that you are going to be out so they can figure out how to get your work done while you are out. Tell them it's for medical reasons and possibly for surgery, they don't need to know what kind if you don't want to tell them.

  • gdnplnty
    gdnplnty Posts: 170 Member
    This is from the Department of Labor's website: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

    Family and Medical Leave Act


    The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:
    Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
    the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
    the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
    to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
    a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
    any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
    Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
  • Autum1031
    Autum1031 Posts: 83 Member
    Thanks, I do know about the FMLA, and I am eligible. Did you tell them before you knew for sure? I called my doctor today, and they've heard nothing back from insurance yet. As far as I know it *should* be approved, so theoretically I could go ahead and tell my employer, but it's always possible my insurance will deny it.
  • garber6th
    garber6th Posts: 1,894 Member
    Aside from the administrative issues that require you to tell your employer, I think when and how and how much to tell kind of depends on your relationship. I worked in a small office with 0 people, my boss was a good friend, so I felt comfortable letting everyone know that I was going through the process. Part of the reason for that was because my insurance company required me to be in my surgeon's program for six months prior to any testing etc. before surgery and I wanted to be sure I would be ok to take time here and there to go to appointments. Once all of my pre-surgery appointments and tests were scheduled, I shared that schedule with my boss. He appreciated knowing what was coming because it helped him plan for the work distribution in my absence.
  • gdnplnty
    gdnplnty Posts: 170 Member
    I guess that I was a bit lucky in that I work at the hospital that did my procedure. We have only had our bariatric center open and going for one year, and I can say that quite a few of the first year clients have been employees. (haha)

    I did have to fill out the FMLA stuff and turn my stuff in to HR and they took care of the rest. Since I had enough vacation time to take a few weeks, that is what I did. I have seen people with the VSG come back in a week, some longer, I think that each person is different.
  • witcherkar
    witcherkar Posts: 138 Member
    I am sorry I can't help. I had surgery and was at work the very next day. :/
  • tat2cookie
    tat2cookie Posts: 1,902 Member
    I said, "Hey Boss, I won't be here for the week of the 13th (this was in January) because I'm getting weight loss surgery. I will have to be on light duty for a few weeks just so you know."
    Boss lady, "ok, just let me know if you need more time off."
    That was that.
  • kimgravitt3
    kimgravitt3 Posts: 186 Member
    Kellyarwitcher what type of surgery did you have that you went back the next day? I have to stay overnight in the hospital and then can't drive for three days. I'm taking the full 4 weeks off. I had a thyroidectomy last year (cancer) and went back way too soon. I'm not doing that this time. I've been with my company for 32 years. I figure they can do without me for a while.
  • PaulaKro
    PaulaKro Posts: 5,665 Member
    I told work months ahead of time. There was only a small window of opportunity between billings and audits. I had to push the doctors to make it happen. Easy procedure, out for four weeks. We had just hired a new employee, so the temp who'd been filling that position stayed on to cover for me.
  • ki4eld
    ki4eld Posts: 1,215 Member
    "I'm having surgery January 19th and expect to be completely out of commission 2 weeks, telecommute for 2 more, light (physical) duty for 3 months."

    "What kind of surgery?"

    "The kind where they cut me open and fiddle with my guts."

    "Oh, ok."

    It's none of their business what kind, just that it's happening and what your expected recovery will look like.
  • Moe4572
    Moe4572 Posts: 1,430 Member
    I am curious....I know everyone is different......but I see many people here had mentioned being out for 2-4 weeks. I have a mostly sitting job, and am thinking I will only be out a week, maybe half days the next week? Does that seem reasonable--barring no complications, of course.
  • anbrdr
    anbrdr Posts: 621 Member
    You COULD go back in a week. But what happens if you have a complication? How hard will it be to get back off of work? You will be dealing with easy fatigue and adjusting to the post-op liquid diet. I know that second week, I wanted to nap almost every day by around 2pm. The fact of the matter is you don't know how fast you'll recover, until you are recovered. Better to ask for the time off, and come back early if you can.
  • cmchandler74
    cmchandler74 Posts: 510 Member
    If you have the kind of job where they will let you work from home for a small stretch, that's ideal. I took two weeks off and then worked a week from home before coming back to the office.
  • Robin628
    Robin628 Posts: 103 Member
    Do you have short-term disability? When I had the Lap Band back in 2007 I used my STD insurance. I think I had to use up any sick time and vacation time before STD kicked in, coverage-wise. In the US your boss can't legally ask you what kind of surgery you are having but someone in HR will see it because of the paperwork involved and you just never know. I have since had my band removed, work for a different company now, and will be getting VSG in December. I don't really want to go through that process again or tell anyone at my job just yet, so I plan to take 1-2 weeks of vacation time. If I have complications, I will worry about it then. But I work mainly from a home office (sales, I travel a lot) and I also have good relationship with my boss. I could tell her if I wanted to but I just don't feel like dealing with the potential WLS stigma from my teammates. Bottom line is it is no one's business but you do have to make sure you have time left to take because all your sick time the past year counts towards the 12 weeks of FMLA. My cousin just went through this with an employer about 2 years ago. She had like 8 or 9 procedures over the course of a year (she is young and they were trying to avoid a colostomy) and HR basically told her if she went out again they had the right per FMLA to let her go (and would). She knew she had to have another procedure shortly where she would be out a significant amount of time (she ended up needing the colostomy) so she had to postpone it and look for another job. So just be careful.
  • Moe4572
    Moe4572 Posts: 1,430 Member
    I don't have short term disability and my manager knows about my surgery and she is ok with it. The bigger boss knows I am having surgery but not what for. I have told everyone I am going to be back in a week, and may just need shorter days the second week. I can't work from home for my job--there is some stuff I can do from home, but not full days worth. I know if I can't come back because of complications, it won't be a huge issue, but I will just hope for the best, and do what I can :)
  • abadee9
    abadee9 Posts: 8 Member
    I am having the surgery in early January 2016 God willing. My plan is to retire at the end of January using accumulated leave as my time off. Can anyone think of a reason not to retire right after the surgery? I work for the state and have medical insurance after retirement.

    My picture here is what I used to look like and what I hope to return to.
  • I didn't tell my work people anything other than I was having surgery and I was planning to be back in two week - but I ended up being out for 4 weeks. I had short-term disability so there weren't any issues there - and I was logging on from home, helping whenever I could. They still don't know why I had surgery 8 months ago and I'm not sure I will ever tell them. My 123 pound weight-loss is obviously noticeable but most haven't even mentioned anything to me. Despite how close I thought we were after working together for a hundred years, it just goes to prove we aren't and I stand behind my decision to keep my personal life and the details of my surgery to myself.
  • Autum1031
    Autum1031 Posts: 83 Member
    thanks everyone. I am going to talk to my manager on Monday. I was hoping to wait until my insurance approved, but it's taking a very long time (still pending) and with a surgery date of 11/9 or 11/16 I don't think I should delay any longer. In my case I've already been working limited hours for the past few months due to medical reasons (unrelated), so I'm going to assume that I may need more than 1-2 weeks, and start the FMLA process if needed. I am not going to explain what the surgery is for, just that I will be having surgery.
  • cabennett99
    cabennett99 Posts: 357 Member
    edited October 2015
    I was very open with everyone. My boss was very supportive from the get go. I didn't want people thinking I was sick, or wondering but not being comfortable bringing it up because I wasn't bringing it up. Everyone is different, but it's hard to talk about appearance in our culture, especially weight, especially across genders. At work it's complicated if there's a hierarchical structure; a junior person can feel awkward bringing it up with someone more senior, and vice versa. So I was open, and wanted my co-workers to help me hold myself accountable (I haven't touched the candy bowl in 12 months!). It's been very gratifying...I've gained a few WLS buddies from others who hadn't been as open with everyone else, I've had people pull me aside to talk about the experience and whether it might be right for them or a loved one, but mostly I think I've made it o.k. for people to compliment me on my appearance, chat me up about what I can eat next, and I also feel I'm helping de-mystify WLS for the small segment of the public I interact with. It took me two years after my first orientation session at a bariatric center of excellence to come around to realizing it wasn't "extreme", and that my obesity wasn't the result of some character flaw. I came around to embracing the idea of WLS when someone else at work, who I never would have thought ever had a weight problem, pulled me aside to tell me about their experience and recommend it for me. That was probably a hard thing for them to do, but it may have saved my life. Down 145 pounds, and at a weight I haven't seen since high school football (38 years ago), I almost daily find myself in a room or meeting with someone just staring at me, and I realize it's someone who knew me in some capacity before but hasn't seen me in awhile, experienceing cognitive dissonance - they're not sure it's me, they're not sure if they should ask, and once they realize it's me they sometimes don't know what to say. I make it easy, "Hi, I'm Craig, we worked together on Project X ten years ago, and your symptoms are normal, I'm half the man I used to be". Then I see where the conversation goes, if they seem interested or ask me, I tell them of the wonderful tool WLS (and MFP) has been for me. Virtually everyone has been enthusiastically supportive. I'm sure some have (or had) negative opinions about WLS, that's fine, if they want to talk bad about WLS I'd be happy to talk about my experience, but not one ever has. More often, I've found that most people already know a family member or friend who has gone through WLS.