The Family Medical Leave Act: Understanding FMLA
Making the decision to seek treatment for drug and alcohol abuse is a life-changing journey of self-reflection and transformation. While recovery opens up endless possibilities for the future, taking steps necessary to truly overcome a substance abuse disorder can be a difficult decision to make. Factors like child care, securing employment and housing, among other responsibilities may cause one to hesitate despite understanding the benefits of leading a clean and sober life.
If fear of losing your job is holding you back from seeking treatment, understanding your legal rights and protections under the Family Medical Leave Act is vital.
How FMLA Works
The Family Medical Leave Act is a federal law which protects employees of certain companies and organizations during medical treatment, including clinically supervised addiction recovery . Under the FMLA, employees may receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for the duration of medical care. Employers that fall within the constraints of this law are also required to maintain health benefits for eligible employees.
Do I Qualify for Family Medical Leave Act Benefits?
You may be able to file for FMLA leave under the following conditions:
- You are unable to work due to serious medical conditions
- You must care for an immediate family member (child, spouse, parent) with a serious health condition
- For childbirth and after care
- The recent adoption or fostering of a child and related care
- You have a qualifying exigency such as the deployment and/or active duty of a spouse, child, or parent with the National Guard or National Reserve
How Do I Know if FMLA Applies to My Job/Employer?
Your employer is required to recognize and provide benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act if:
- You are employed by the public school system, the local, state, or federal government, or any other public agencies.
- You are employed by a privately owned company with 50 or more employees and:
- You work at least 20 hours a week
- You have been an employee for at least one year (1,250 hrs/yr)
- You work at a location or within 75 miles of a location which employs at least 50 people.
FMLA for Addiction Treatment
As an officially recognized a chronic brain disorder which causes compulsive drug and/or alcohol abuse, addiction falls under the umbrella of qualifying health conditions for the Family Medical Leave Act. As such, your medical insurance and employment status are legally protected for up to 12 weeks while you seek proper treatment and care. This security allows you to focus 100 percent your recovery without worrying about losing insurance coverage or being able to support your family following discharge from care. Through the FMLA, more people gain access to addiction treatment to achieve and sustain a clean and sober lifestyle for themselves and their families.
For more information about treatment options, contact us today!