Many people are afraid they will lose their jobs if they seek treatment for substance use. Unfortunately, addiction can also result in job loss and other devastating consequences. Getting help for substance use when you need it is crucial. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may allow you to keep your job while you’re in addiction treatment.
Does FMLA Cover Drug Rehab?
The FMLA was created to protect employees with medical needs that prevent them from working. It prohibits employers from firing them while they are on leave. People who need treatment for a “serious health condition” can take FMLA leave. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, substance use counts as a serious health condition if a person requires inpatient care or continued treatment from a health care provider. An individual can also take FMLA leave to care for a loved one in drug rehab. The FMLA covers a person’s time in treatment for up to 12 weeks. This time may be taken in a block, so you could attend a 12-week rehab program, then return to work. FMLA leave may also be broken into smaller periods, such as if you have continued outpatient care that interferes with working hours. Intermittent leave must be approved by your employer as a special case. While a person who suffers from addiction may have difficulty working, they cannot take FMLA leave unless they are in treatment. FMLA does not cover leave for substance use. Unfortunately, if someone’s employer has a previously established rule against substance use, they may be terminated for using drugs during employment even while on FMLA leave for drug rehab. [inline_cta_four]
Who Is Eligible For FMLA?
Not all employers offer FMLA leave, and not all employees are eligible. Covered employers include:
- private-sector companies with 50 or more employees and 20 or more workweeks per year
- public agencies (such as local, state, federal government agencies)
- public or private elementary or secondary schools
Employees who are eligible to take FMLA leave are those who:
- work for a covered employer for at least 12 months
- have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months
- work at a location with at least 50 employees within 75 miles
Do I Get Paid During FMLA Leave For Drug Rehab?
The FMLA does not provide paid leave for drug rehab. It only offers job protection. Some health insurance policies may cover part of your pay during addiction treatment if you have disability insurance. Contacting your insurance provider directly can help you determine whether you are eligible for partial pay during drug rehab. Your employer is required to keep your health insurance active during FMLA leave, though you will still be responsible to pay your monthly premium contribution. You may be able to use paid vacation time during FMLA leave. Some employers require it. Be sure to confirm your employer’s rules before going to drug rehab so you won’t have to worry about anything while you’re away.
How Do I Apply For FMLA Leave?
Put in a request for FMLA leave with your employer 30 days before taking leave, if possible. You’ll need to provide evidence that your reason for taking leave makes you eligible under the FMLA. Your employer is required to approve or deny the request within five business days. They may then ask you for medical certification, which you have 15 calendar days to turn in. An employer can demand a second or third medical opinion at their expense if this certification does not seem valid. If anything changes during your leave—you are discharged from rehab and able to return to work early, for example—you must notify your employer. If you need to extend your leave, you may need to provide additional medical certification.
Returning To Work After FMLA Leave For Drug Rehab
When someone uses FMLA for drug rehab, their employer must return them to their former job when they come back to work. It does not have to be the exact position, but it must have similar duties and identical pay. Your return date is set when FMLA leave is approved. If circumstances require you to change this date, you must ok it with your employer. Communication is the best way to ensure you have the time you need to heal from addiction and still keep your job. To learn about using FMLA leave for drug rehab at Vertava Health, reach out to one of our treatment specialists today.