The Mysterious Paystub

October 8, 2013

The fact that I got paid is not mysterious, but the information contained in my last paystub was. It showed 24 hours of regular pay, 8 hours of PTO, and 48 hours of disability. But it was for the pay period starting 9/15. I was baffled. I shouldn’t have any regular pay. I’m on leave. It should have been 32 hours of PTO and 48 hours of disability. I confess that it took me three days to figure it out. Those three days (24 hours) of regular pay? That was my bereavement leave. (Yes, we get a whopping three days off for the death of a primary relative. Mom or dad dies? You get three days and then back to work. Your favorite great aunt? Better hope you have PTO to go to that funeral.)

But the kicker yesterday was the email from HR to let me know that my return-to-work date has changed. You see, I don’t need any leave beyond my disability, so I’m expected back on 10/25. I mean, I don’t have someone else that I’m caring for. Thanks. I needed to be reminded of that. I’d forgotten. Now, if I don’t think I’ll be ready to go back to work, I can apply for up to 30 days of personal leave; and if my doctor or midwife thinks I need more recovery time, they can prescribe it to extend my FML as previously approved. But here’s the thing. I don’t know. Right now I dread the thought of going back to work. I wish I could afford to just quit my job and stay home and write full time. Right now I don’t want to go back. Ever. But that’s how I feel right now. I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow. Or next week. Or on 10/24.

And that’s what really bugs me about this. I’d already been debating about whether to go back to work on 10/25 or not. But it was my decision. I could choose to wait a few more days if I got to that point and knew I really wasn’t ready. And that decision? It’s been taken away from me. I’m to grieve and heal on a corporate timetable. After all, I’ve already used my three days of bereavement. All that’s left is the physical recovery, right?

I’m trying to look on the bright side. I have a ton of PTO. (This was all going to get spent in the weeks following my disability that I was still on leave. Not anymore.) I can go in, work a few hours, and leave if I can’t stand to be there any longer. If I can’t stand to be there any longer but want to keep working, I can take it home with me. Dr Z won’t mind; he’ll approve the offsite hours if that’s where I need to be in order to get the work done.

But it isn’t easy. I’m sad. And I’m tired. And this is one of those things that is not making it easier. I know I’ll survive it. I know that it will be fine. But I’m not ready to think about it yet.

P.S. Please don’t think that I’m upset with Cheryl. If she could have extended my leave without requiring me to complete new paperwork, I’m sure she would have. It’s the policy that sucks, not the people.

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