Addiction is a complex disease that will eventually affect every aspect of your life. However, you may be hesitating to pursue treatment for a variety of reasons – one of which is that you’re worried about losing your job if you go to rehab. Fortunately, thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you shouldn’t need to make the difficult choice between your employment status and the need to start your recovery.
What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The FMLA legally ensures that employees can take a 12-week leave of absence from their jobs for medical reasons, including the need to seek addiction treatment. This law gives you the freedom to go through rehab with the confidence that you’ll still have a job to return to after you complete your treatment.
Thanks to the FMLA, thousands of Americans living with an addiction can start their journey toward recovery, knowing that their job is secure. However, it is essential to note that the FMLA only provides for unpaid leave, which means you’ll need to rely on your savings or an additional source of income to make up for any financial loss during this time.
Under the FMLA, you are eligible for medical leave if you:
- Work for a covered employer
- Have worked for your employer for 12 months or more
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months preceding your medical leave
- Work in an area where your employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles
You’ll need to coordinate your FMLA eligibility with your human resources department, if applicable. It’s up to you whether to tell other co-workers about your decision to seek addiction treatment. You can choose to keep your reasons for using medical leave a private matter, or you can be up-front with your colleagues about it.
Your Employer’s Role in Treatment
By observing the Family and Medical Leave Act and giving you the opportunity to take care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being, your employer could be saving your life and ensuring that you’re a happier and more productive worker upon your return. However, going through rehab doesn’t necessarily give you a clean slate from any behavioral and performance issues that may have resulted from your drug and alcohol use, such as unexplained absences. Your co-workers will likely be among the people you’ll need to make amends to after your discharge from treatment.
It’s also crucial to note that the FMLA doesn’t protect you if you’re routinely coming to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If an active addiction is interfering with your ability to perform your job responsibilities, your employer might decide to terminate you. If you’re eligible for medical leave under the FMLA, that’s precisely why you should take advantage of this law to start your recovery journey. If you don’t, your substance abuse issues could end up costing you your livelihood.
Starting Over at Canyon Crossing
Addiction is a multifaceted illness that affects your body and mind. If you’re living with substance misuse or a co-occurring disorder, you deserve the chance to regain your health in a compassionate environment. Recovery is possible, but you can’t do it without help. Thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act, you can enroll yourself in substance abuse treatment and return to your job without judgment. Learn more about our women’s-only addiction programming by reaching out to us.