Understanding FMLA and Addiction Treatment
Millions of Americas suffer from addiction. While admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward recovery, enrolling in a substance abuse program allows you to reclaim your life. Many people do not get addiction treatment because they are concerned that taking the time required to get help could affect their employment status. As a result, individuals struggling with addiction experience a perpetual cycle of destruction in their personal and professional lives. The provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may provide the necessary support and understanding FMLA and addiction treatment may be the difference between receiving help and not.
Why Is Substance Abuse Treatment Protected?
There are many reasons that rehab is protected under the act. The National Institute on Drug Abuse classifies addiction as a complex disease. Quitting often takes more than willpower and good intentions. Drugs and alcohol change the way that the brain functions, which makes it very difficult to stop using these substances. The act enables a person to receive the professional rehab required for recovery and long-term success. Absences from work caused by hangovers and other effects of ongoing drug or alcohol use are not covered by the act.
How the Family Medical Leave Act Helps with Addiction
Passed in 1993, this federal law requires employers to allow certain employees to take a leave of absence for medical treatment or to take care of family members. In most situations, eligible employees are authorized to take unpaid leave without the risk of losing their jobs. This enables you to seek substance abuse treatment provided by a health care provider or an agency you were referred to by a medical professional. Your employer cannot take action against you for going to rehab or taking care of a loved one who is in treatment. The statute allows covered individuals to take up to 12 weeks off in a 12-month period. If you are considering entering rehab for a drug or alcohol addiction, you may qualify to take leave under the terms of this federal law without having to worry about job-related consequences.
Are You Eligible Under FMLA?
Eligibility for time off to attend treatment depends on several factors. While the law does not protect every worker, members of certain groups are guaranteed coverage. Examples of covered groups include local, state and federal government employees as well as teachers and school department personnel. Other individuals must work for a covered employer and:
- Work at the job for at least 12 months
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12-month period before taking leave
- Work at a location with at least 50 employees
The employer will determine whether the employee will be paid while on leave. The goal of the act is to enable workers to have the opportunity to attend rehab and be able to return to work in the same or a similar position after successfully completing the program.
The law does not protect all employees in every case. You must give proper notice that you will be using the benefits outlined in the law. Last minute treatment like court-appointed rehab may make you ineligible. Other restrictions include company substance abuse policies. Drug use is often a permissible reason for dismissal in some industries. You cannot be terminated for requesting or using your family leave benefits. Regardless of your ability to use family leave, you should still seek treatment for an addiction as soon as possible to protect your health and well-being. The decision to keep a job instead of getting treatment will eventually backfire.
Treatment is Available
You do not have to let addiction control your life. Help in Arizona is just a phone call away. You can overcome your addiction with a professional accredited treatment program. A variety of programs is available to help you address your problem with addictive substances. Addiction treatment programs will also provide you with the tools that you need to stay sober in the future. Contact us or visit our website for more information. Take the first steps on the road to recovery toward a better life for you and your family.
- State of West Virginia: https://www.state.wv.us/admin/personnel/forms/Leave/DOP-L9.pdf
- American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323465
- U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction
- Vertava Health: https://vertavahealth.com/blog/how-does-drug-rehab-work/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/what-drug-addiction-treatment
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/health-related-quality-of-life-well-being
- WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/default.htm