Stressed Out? Consider Taking a Stress Leave From Work
Chronic stress can be hazardous to your health. If your job is a primary source of your stress, here's how to request a stress leave from work.
Chronic stress can be hazardous to your health. It can lead to high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and heart issues. If your job is the primary source of your stress, you may want to consider requesting a stress leave from work.
What is stress leave and how can you get the time off work? Here's what we know about stress leave and how to apply for the time off.
You can request stress leave from work — here's how.
Taking care of your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health. If you are stressed at work, you may use your available paid time off (PTO) to take a few days off. However, if your stress is severe enough that you need more than a few days to recharge, you can request a longer leave of absence or stress leave.
Employees who work at least 1,250 hours within 12 months are eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). FMLA leave is required for companies with more than 50 employees located within a 75-mile radius. The leave is for any “serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.” Although this is often used for pregnancy and childbirth, it can also be used for stress and anxiety.
Takes these steps to request stress leave from work.
1. Check medical leave laws and guidelines – The medical leave laws in your state may be more generous than the FMLA. You should also check your employer’s leave policies. Employers with over 50 employees must provide FMLA leave, but your company may offer more liberal guidelines.
2. Get a note from your doctor – You can’t just request a leave because you’re a little stressed out. You need a note from your doctor to request stress leave with FMLA. To get an FMLA leave, you need to see a doctor and have them verify and document that you have persistent health symptoms caused by stress.
3. Set an appointment with HR – Once you have your doctor’s recommendation on paper, you can make an appointment with your company's human resources department to request your FMLA leave.
4. Talk with your boss – Depending on your relationship with your boss, you can tell them you are requesting stress leave before or after you meet with HR. If you are honest about how your stress negatively impacts your performance, they may offer alternative options to help relieve your stress without taking unpaid time off.
What happens if you aren’t eligible for FMLA?
If you aren’t eligible for FMLA leave, you may ask your company anyway if you can take an unpaid leave of absence. You are worth more to an employer when you are on top of your game and not bogged down with stress.
What you should do on stress leave?
When you take a stress leave, your primary focus should be reducing the stress that's endangering your overall health. Take the time to reset and recharge yourself by doing things that make you happy. Sleep in, do yoga, take walks, and eat healthily. Continue to visit your doctor to monitor your progress and consider talking with a therapist if your stress is causing you anxiety and depression.