Alright. I'm at my wits end folks and need some advice. I am a computer programmer who has worked diligently for the same company for 8 years. Over the last 3 years, my spine has gone south. I've had fusions at c4-5, c6-7, and l4 - s2. The most recent was the bottom. My company has offered short term leave / disability for up to 12 weeks according to the fmla but they offer no pay while on leave. I submitted notes from my doctors that said I could perform my duties in a reclined position because sitting up and standing up cause great amounts of pain to me after a very short period of time. I have been off work for a week now waiting to hear back on whether they would "Officially" let me work at home. I have worked at home in the past on several occasions without incident. In fact, I have absolutely no reason to ever go in to the office if I don't want to. I ahve access to all the code and personell remotely.
The response I got was that if I wanted to bring a recliner in to work that would work but they refuse to let me work from home medical condition or not. When I asked why, since my job doesn't require I be in the office at atll, they got all snippy and said "because we said so". Well, you sure showed me now didn't ya!
Problem is I know at least 1 other guy who works from home 2 days per week with no medical conditions at all. I'm not sure why and I never bothered to throw a stink about it. I just find it interesting that I am told absolutely not when he gets 2 days each week. I could understand this if I was a low end programmer or something but I consider myself in the top 5 percentile of all programmers for this large corporation. In fact, the week before I left, they had a party in my behalf where I busted my butt for 1 solid week to finish a project that netted them over $500,000 cash money. I was really the poster boy there for about 5 minutes.
I make well less than $100,000 / yr and am very good at what I do, yet I still don't seem to get any respect whatsoever. Nobody on my team has received a raise in at least 5 years and we are making good money. I can tell because the managers are always driving new Lexus, Mercedes, etc the week after bonus's are passed out.
Anyway, I've drifted a bit here. I have 5 weeks left of the 12 weeks that fmla offers you. I have been told by a benefits attorney that i am a guaranteed candatate for disability and i did purchase long term disability which might be a good thing.
Big problem is that if I wait out the 5 weeks, the company automatically fires me and my long term disability kicks in. This runs for 18 months of which I understand it takes 2 years to get ssd.
Other option is that I go back to work on monday with a recliner and see how things go. The way things feel right now, I'm sure there is no way I can sit there for 8 hours 5 days per week without exploding but what do I do? I am fairly young at 39 and I have a wife that is a stay at home mother who chose to stay out of the work force for the last 12 years. It kills me to see her have to go back to work. Also, what would I do about insurance?
The way I see it is this...
1. Stay out for another 5 weeks, get fired, and start my long term disability. Do I just buy cobra with this option?
Possibly lose my bonus that got put on hold when the company declared bankrupcy a year ago. Rumor has we will be getting those payed out in march in full. My bonus has acrued to around $60,000 and nobody can tell me if I get that if I take disability.
2. Go back to work with a chair. Suffer, hurt, work. I'm afraid my work will try and fire me. If I get fired, I can get workmans comp but that might mess up my chances for collecting long term disability. Also, what happens to the insurance there? Cobra? Again, do I get my payout?
Either way, I am going to have to send my wife back to work which absolutely kills me. She is so good with the kids and the so look forward to seeing her.
I have looked and it seems I have a valid case to push for me being allowed to work at home. Should I go this route?
Should I just go back to work and see how long I can last? Fired or back on leave.
Just stay on leave and get my disability ball rolling.
I know this is long and probably very boring. I am at my wits end. I would greatly appreciate any advice anyone has with regard to this subject.
Thanks in advance. I sure hope I can get something figured out.