I recently took on a job as a therapist working in home with adolescents with behavioral/substance use/mental health issues. I love the job. It’s great, I like what I do with the families, the intense training and supervision I receive, I like my coworkers, and I like my boss. I can remote access my computer and can do a good proportion of my work from home. I took the job 2.5 months ago after quitting a job at a very toxic workplace. This place has been like a breath of fresh air until now, which I’m very very bitter about. During the first 90 days, you cannot take any time off (no sick or vacation time).

Tuesday night, my boyfriend’s father (who we had just visited in the hospital and thankfully had a wonderful visit with) stopped responding to blood transfusions, antibiotics, etc., started to lose control of bodily functions, was struggling to breathe, and losing consciousness. He was fighting leukemia, and was in the hospital to figure out if it was pneumonia or if the leukemia had gone to his lungs. Our best guess is the leukemia had gone to his lungs. We visited him and he never regained consciousness, and passed away early Wednesday morning.

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When he passed away, I called my boss to explain. He told me he would allow me to take the day off (the day he died) and put in for a vacation day once I pass the 90 day “probationary” status. So I basically “borrowed” a vacation day to not go to work 1 hour after my boyfriend’s father died.

Here is where I get very upset. I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 8 years. I’ve known his father for 12. He was very much my father-in-law. That was his relationship with me. We were very close. My boyfriend was devastated and needed support. We have a million things to work out (probate, selling his stuff, paying his bills, finding all of his accounts, the insane costs of funeral arrangements, etc.) I had to then go into work 24 hours after his death. I was a mess, I was crying every time I was alone. I had to provide family therapy, which, aside from being unfair to me, was unfair to my family. Frankly, it’s unethical, because I highly doubt I was a capable social worker when all I could think about was my grief and loss.

All of this would have been different if I had been married. If I had married my boyfriend of 6 months (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and his parent died, I would have received 3 days paid time off for grieving. But, because my boyfriend and I have been holding off on getting married for many reasons (including the cost of the wedding), I was denied time off to grieve. Honestly, I would have been okay if I had been offered unpaid time off! I don’t need paid benefits, but I think it is really horrible and messed up that I was denied a leave. I don’t know how to bring it up with my boss (or if I even should). I just feel so helpless and drained right now on top of my anger about this....