Letter to the Editor: All staff want entry to paid medical depart

Since leaving the military, I’ve worked closely with my veterans, helping them find meaningful employment for three years, and sharing veterinarian stories for another three years. During that time, I’ve met too many hardworking, resourceful veterans who became homeless after an illness or injury that affected their ability to work – people who paid family and sick leave could have helped.

I know firsthand what it is like to take time off from work because of an illness. After completing my military service, I was diagnosed with anxiety, PTSD (due to non-combat trauma), and depression. Despite the treatment, I struggled. Eventually I burned out.

During a mental crisis, I took leave from my job to take part in an intensive care program. Ultimately, I decided to leave this job for one that offers more work-life balance. But three months after my new job, I hit a wall again. This time it was even more serious. I took medical leave from work again. Fortunately, I was entitled to temporary disability benefits during treatment.

Having time to heal, access to good health care, and the ability to pay my bills have saved my life.

The truth is, if you can get through your career without serious illness, injury, or care for a family member, you are incredibly lucky. Without paid family and sick leave, people overcome these challenges at the expense of their health, the financial well-being of their family, or both.

Rhiannon Guzelian

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