Sick Days are the worst


Before diabetes, the usual parent prescription for a cold or flu was rest, refreshments and reruns. After a diabetes diagnosis, tending to a cold also includes managing blood glucose (blood sugar) levels that may be more difficult to control. American Diabetes Association

I can relate so much to the quote from the American Diabetes Association. For my young lady, having a cold, an upset stomach, an infection pretty much means that her diabetes may be affected, and because of it her mood will sway as well as her sugars, and we will have to be very vigilant so her whole well-being does not go from bad to worse in a short time.

No matter if it is you or your child that is sick, sick days are bad. Add to that if your child has a disability, a serious medical condition or cannot communicate how they are feeling, everything pretty much stops until you can make the situation normal or as close to normal as you can.

Those days are also more complicated when you are also a working parent and have to take time to care for your child. Many of us may worry about losing our job or having to make up the time we have taken. We need to remember that there are several laws that also protect us from taking time to take care for a sick family member.


Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

This is a federal law that guarantees a certain employees up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave each year with no threat of job loss. The 12 weeks don’t need to be consecutive but may happen any time within a 12 month period. There are certain requirements the employer has to have in order for this to apply to you. Make sure you check with your employer and verify this law applies to you. An eligible employee requesting FMLA to care for a child less than 18 years of age must only show a need to care for a child due to a serious health condition. However, if you have to care for an adult child with a disability there are different regulations that apply.

To be eligible for FMLA to care for an adult child:

  1. Have a disability as defined by ADA.
  2. Be unable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability
  3. Have a serious health condition for which they are in need of care
  4. The care giver must also meet the other eligibility requirements for FMLA.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

While most people know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects those with disabilities from discrimination in employment, recent court cases have extended the protection to parents of children with disabilities. For example it would be unlawful for your employer to fire or refuse to hire an individual because the individual has a family member or dependent with a disability that is not covered by the employers’ current health insurance plan, or that may increase the employer’s future health costs. If you have health insurance with your employer, they may not rule out coverage for certain disabilities. However, it is legal to place restrictions on certain medications and procedures (for example, on mental health therapy or blood transfusions), providing all employees and their families have the same restrictions, not just those with disabilities.

There is another aspect of the law which states that the employer may not discriminate against an employee who as an “association” with someone with a known disability. This law would prohibit a discrimination against “a qualified individual because of the known disability of an individual with whom the qualified individual is known to have a relationship or association.”

      DISCRIMINATION SEC. 12112. [Section 102]

      (4) excluding or otherwise denying equal jobs or benefits to a qualified individual because of the known disability of an individual with whom the qualified individual is known to have a relationship or association;


Understanding your rights as the primary caregiver for an individual with a disability is important. As we have shared in many occasions, communication is a very powerful tool. Be as open and honest with your employer about your needs. It is not uncommon for employers to work with you when you address special concerns or needs. Keeping the communication open with your employer may go a long way towards improving the work-home balance that you need when you care for a child or adult with special needs.


Disclaimer: I want to remind you that I am a non-attorney, advocate. Therefore, the contents of this blog, in its entirety, and should not be construed as legal advice, but, rather the opinion of the author.


Luz Adriana

My name is Luz Adriana Martinez and for the past 27 years I have been working in the field of advocacy for children with disabilities. I hold an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a BA from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. I'm married to a great guy, Tito, an Army Veteran of 22 years, who supports all the crazy things I do. Being an Army wife also prepared us to be always on the move and without daddy for long periods of time. This also gave me the opportunity work and volunteer with organizations whose mission was to assist other military families. This blog results from my desire to give back to the many families that have given me and mine so much. I have had the fortune to be able to travel the world assisting military families and now that that stage of my life is over, I want to continue to share what I have learned in the hopes that I can still provide some information and resources to families who need it.

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