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How to Get Time Off of Work With Depression

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Depression is a psychiatric illness that manifests with physical and psychological symptoms. It is a manageable condition and many people with depression are able to work full-time jobs. There are occasions when good self-care practices require taking days off due to symptoms or for recovery. Most employers find this acceptable, but if absences become excessive and exceed company policy, a doctor’s visit is suggested for a medication adjustment to preserve employment.

Go to your medical provider and request a copy of your formal diagnosis of clinical depression. Inform the office that you need it for employment purposes and they will get you the authentication that most employers require.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor and inform them of your request to take time off due to depression. Be specific about how much time you need to take off and the symptoms that you are experiencing. Comply if they want to check the status of your health by running tests. Most doctors will provide you with a medical note as requested.

Set up a meeting with your supervisor or HR department to discuss your medical condition. Provide them with the copy of your official diagnosis for your file, then show them your current doctors note. With this level of documentation, they are likely to grant your request for days off, as indicated by the doctor’s note

Tip

Consider working in a field that is understands mental illness and is more likely to be flexible about taking days off. A few examples are social work, education, and healthcare.

Warning

Think carefully before disclosing your health status to employers. Although the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of illness alone, they may become more observant of your behavior and use any small transgression to justify termination.

Too much time taken for sick leave will not likely be looked upon well by supervisors. Only take time off if necessary.

References

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About the Author

Kongit Farrell received her Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Southern California and her Master of Arts in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. She applied her knowledge while working for the Clinton Administration in the Communication Office, then served as a Commissioner for the Department of Public Social Services on issues of policy regarding social programs that serve marginalized populations.