Does FMLA Cover Addiction Treatment?
Our society is battling an addiction epidemic. Drug or alcohol usage is a destructive habit that affects the person who is abusing the substances and the loved ones who surround him or her. When a person admits that a problem exists and wants to enter a rehab facility for help, there are certain obstacles that may get in the way. Besides the fear of withdrawal, a person may also worry about losing his or her employment. Inpatient rehab requires a set amount of time away from home. It is a time to concentrate on a person’s addiction so that he or she can identify the root of his or her issues and learn how to remain sober. However, not everyone is in the position to demand time away from work for rehabilitation. If you are battling drug or alcohol abuse, FMLA may be the answer.
What is FMLA?
The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, provides the opportunity for a worker to leave his or her job for a short time and address a serious family or medical need. This includes addiction treatment. An employee who is covered may take up to 12 weeks off without pay so that he or she can tend to these needs. In return, an employer must allow the employee to return to work without penalty.
Does FMLA Cover Addiction Treatment?
Addiction is a disease that affects all facets of a person’s health and is usually covered under FMLA. If an employee leaves to get help for addictive behavior, he or she should return back to work in a better physical and emotional state, which heightens productivity. Does FMLA cover addiction treatment? According to the Department of Labor, there are a few rules that determine whether a person is covered by FMLA. To begin, a person must work for a government agency, a public school, or a company that employs at least 50 workers. Next, a worker must have been employed by a covered business for at least 12 months and must have worked for at least 24 hours each week.
Requesting FMLA Leave for Addiction Treatment
After a person verifies that he or she is eligible for FMLA, it is essential to contact his or her company’s human resource department. Applying for FMLA is confidential, so it is not necessary to explain that the requested time is for substance abuse treatment. However, the person must provide a note from a doctor that verifies that the leave from work is medically necessary. Thoughts of fear and embarrassment may be felt as you begin to seek help, but it is crucial to not let those feelings dictate your well-being and over health.
Returning to Work After FMLA Leave
As long as a person pays his or her insurance premium, an employer must continue health coverage throughout the time off. After the 12 weeks have expired, the business should return the employee back to the same job and allow the individual to take future time for counseling. However, this time must not interfere with daily work activities. If a person does not use all of the time, an employee may return on a part-time basis so that the transition back to work is less stressful.
What is the Employer’s Role in Treatment?
Although some employers may find that the FMLA is inconvenient, it is important for them to understand that the law is meant to heighten productivity and to create a healthier work atmosphere. In many cases, allowing employees to have the opportunity to gain addiction treatment or to care for other problems improves the company morale. However, when returning to work, an employee is expected to face the consequences of misbehaviors that occurred before leaving.
FMLA is meant to cover an individual who recognizes a problem with drugs or alcohol use. It does not cover people who currently use drugs or alcohol. When a person’s addiction prohibits him or her from completing his or her job, an employer has the right to fire the individual. This is why an eligible worker who suffers with substance abuse problems should use FMLA leave to start a sober life.
Do Not Be Afraid to Seek Treatment
Addiction is a troubling disease that affects all aspects of a person’s life. The FMLA has helped to lower the worries and shame that are associated with this type of problem. Thanks to this act, a person is able to face his or her issues and to overcome them without fear of losing his or her job. With help, it is possible to regain a sober life. To take the first step, contact St. Gregory Recovery Center today.