What Is FMLA and How Does It Affect My Treatment Options?

An addiction to drugs or alcohol can negatively impact your job. You may be ineffective at work because of being high or drunk. You also could compromise the safety and integrity of your coworkers and the company as a whole.

However, many employers today are sympathetic to the fact that addictions can happen to the most dependable and respectable of employees. To overcome your addiction, your employer may encourage you to check yourself into a recovery center. You can accept help and go through treatment easier by learning how FMLA could impact your recovery.

What is FMLA?

FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act. This law was enacted in 1996 by then-President Bill Clinton. Adjustments were made to it in 2009 to expand FMLA to members of the military.

This law essentially grants time off to workers who meet the outlined criteria for FMLA. Employees can take time away from their jobs without pay and without the fear of being terminated. They must be allowed to come back to work after their leave ends.

They also must have their group benefits maintained during the time they take off from work for FMLA purposes. Their health insurance, 401k, stock sharing, and other benefits cannot be terminated or suspended during the time they are away from their jobs.

FMLA was designed to accommodate workers who need to take time off from work in order to take care of pressing family or medical needs. It also accommodates the legitimate interests of employees while promoting equal opportunity for both men and women in the workplace.

Who is Eligible for FMLA?

By law, FMLA must be granted to any worker who has been employed for at least 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours in the calendar year. This law extends to members of the military including those who are serving in combat areas.

However, in order for FMLA to apply to an employee, the employer must have at least 50 workers on payroll. These workers also must be employed within 75 miles of where the employee who wants to take FMLA lives or works.

When Can FMLA Be Used?

FMLA can be used for certain circumstances that may arise in an employee’s life. By law, an employee can take FMLA leave for:

  • The birth of a child
  • The placement of a child for adoption or foster care in a worker’s home
  • Caring for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) suffering from a serious illness or injury
  • Seeking treatment or recovering from a serious illness or injury

In terms of the FMLA law, a serious illness extends to any drug or alcohol addiction from which a worker may suffer. The employee can use this unpaid leave to seek treatment for his or her dependency. However, this treatment must be administered within the allotted time frame of FMLA leave.

How FMLA Impacts Addiction Treatment

When you are serious about getting help for your drug or alcohol addiction, you may want to take full advantage of all of the resources available to you. You also may want to avoid rushing the treatment just for the sake of going back to work. You do not want a rushed pace to compromise your future sobriety.

Still, FMLA allots you up to 12 weeks in which to seek out and undergo treatment. If you do not want to risk your employment, you will be expected to be back at your job after the 12 weeks have come to an end.

With that in mind, you may want to look for a recovery center that offers inpatient or outpatient treatment within the time frame you have available to you. Many rehab facilities offer up to 90 days of treatment. The programs typically do not last beyond three months from the time you admit yourself into the facility.

Knowing that you have a finite window in which to seek treatment may also compel you to pay attention and participate fully in all of the treatment programs available to you. You have to think of your treatment in terms of it having a finish line. When you reach that finish line, you will have to go back to work if you do not want to get fired.

FMLA could grant you enough time in which to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. During the time you are in rehab, you cannot be fired from your job. Your benefits like your health insurance must also be maintained for you. Call one of our counselors today at 844-639-8371.

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