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Can I Use FMLA to Go to A Drug Rehab Center Near Me?

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that can wreak havoc on your life. When you suffer from addiction, the use of drugs or alcohol often takes precedence over your other responsibilities, causing you to have a difficult time completing daily tasks like caring for children or performing in your career. 

Because of how addiction affects you, it is important to seek professional help before your drug dependency causes you to lose things, like your relationships or your career. You may be worried that taking time off of work for addiction treatment could cause you to lose your job, however, there are protections in place that prevent this from happening. 

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows you to take unpaid time off of work to take part in addiction treatment. While this does not protect you from being fired if you were using drugs and alcohol on the job, many employers are tolerant and encouraging of workers who address their problems and want to do something to fix them. 

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.”[1] In other words, this act allows you to take unpaid leave and keep your health insurance should you face a family or medical emergency. 

The FMLA provides federally protected leave for up to 12 weeks within one year for:

  • The birth of a child or to care for a newborn baby 
  • Caring for an adopted child or foster care child with the employee within one year of placement
  • Caring for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition 
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of their job 

Understanding the FMLA requires you to know what serious medical conditions are considered under this act. A serious medical condition is described as anything that prevents you from performing the essential duties of your job. In other words, this is more than just a common cold – it must be an illness that requires inpatient care or ongoing treatment from a professional. 

Examples of physical health conditions covered by the FMLA include:

  • Chronic back conditions 
  • Cancer 
  • Diabetes 
  • Emphysema 
  • Nervous system disorders 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Pneumonia 
  • Severe arthritis 

Examples of mental health conditions covered by the FMLA include:

  • Memory disorders
  • Severe depression
  • Severe bipolar disorder 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorder 

Is Drug Rehab Covered by the FMLA?

Serious health conditions include substance use disorder, which is the medical term for addiction. This means that you can use the FMLA to go to drug rehab for 12 weeks or less. 

However, certain conditions must be met for a substance use disorder to be considered a serious health condition. These conditions include:

  • Substance abuse is causing you to experience an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that requires inpatient care
  • You have experienced a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive full calendar days that involves treatment from a healthcare provider on at least one occasion 

Additionally, there are other conditions you must consider. You cannot use the FMLA to take time off of work to sit at home and use drugs or alcohol. You must be using this act to take time off for treatment, otherwise, your employer has the right to terminate your job. 

Another thing to consider is that while you cannot lose your job by taking leave to go to a drug rehab center, you can lose your job if you broke any company policies. For example, if you are proven to have used drugs or alcohol while on the job, you can still be fired. The only thing that the FMLA protects you from is being discriminated against for going to addiction treatment. 

How To Tell if You Are Eligible for the FMLA

If you are living with a substance use disorder, you must receive the professional treatment you need. With dedication, a strong support network, and professional help, you can recover from addiction in no time. But how can you tell if you are covered by the FMLA?

If you meet the following criteria, you are eligible to use the FMLA for addiction treatment:

  • You work for a covered employer
  • You have worked for your employer for 12 months or more (non-consecutively)
  • You’ve worked at least 1.250 hours during the 12-month period you worked at the company 
  • You work in a company where there are 50 employees within a 75-mile radius

While this may seem straightforward, you may not be aware of what a covered employer is. The FMLA covers most employers, except for some elected officials. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a covered employer is:

  • Any private sector employer with 50 or more employees working 20 or more weeks each year
  • A local, state, or government agency 
  • Any public or private elementary or secondary school 

If you and your employer meet the above criteria, you are eligible to use the Family and Medical Leave Act to attend addiction treatment. 

Finding Help for Addiction and Alcoholism

If you suffer from addiction or alcoholism, professional treatment is the only surefire way to recover. Without professional help, you could suffer from an array of social, financial, physical, or mental health consequences. 

Here at Mandala Healing Center, clients are taken on a journey of healing through complete immersion into evidence-based clinical modalities, multifaceted alternative therapies, and expert medical management, allowing them to fully detox and recover from drug and alcohol addictions. Through a program of care designed to encourage change, a foundation is created that allows clients to find their higher purpose and reclaim their lives.

Don’t wait any longer for the treatment you deserve. Call now to speak to a treatment specialist.