When struggling with substance abuse, the fear of losing your job can be a significant barrier to seeking the help you need. Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act offers a solution, ensuring your health and job security can coexist.
What Are Your Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The FMLA is a federal law that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical reasons, including substance abuse treatment. This law empowers you to seek professional help with the reassurance that your job will be waiting for you upon your return. The act provides invaluable security during a critical time in your life.
You must meet specific conditions to qualify for FMLA.
- Employment with a covered employer: Generally, these include private-sector employers with 50 or more employees, public agencies, and public and private elementary and secondary schools.
- Duration of employment: You should have worked for your employer for at least 12 months.
- Hours of work: You must have logged at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months.
- Location of employment: There must be at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your workplace.
Discussing Addiction Treatment at Work
Talking about your illness at work is a personal decision. You must coordinate your FMLA leave with your human resources department, but beyond that, the extent to which you share your situation with colleagues is entirely up to you. Depending on your relationship with your co-workers and the overall work environment, being open about your treatment can be liberating and may even inspire others.
Your Employer’s Role in Your Recovery
Your employer plays a crucial part in your recovery process by adhering to FMLA. However, remember that completing a stay in a treatment program does not erase any work-related issues that may have arisen due to substance abuse. You may need to address aspects such as:
- Missed appointments or deadlines
- Unexplained absences or tardiness
- Hygiene concerns
- Mood fluctuations
- Inconsistencies in performance or attitude
While FMLA provides job protection for people who need help, it does not safeguard against the consequences of active substance abuse at work. If addiction impairs your job performance, it could be grounds for termination. Therefore, you should be proactive about using your FMLA leave before substance abuse jeopardizes your employment.
Seeking Treatment: The First Step to Recovery
Recognizing that addiction is a complex disease affecting your physical, mental and emotional health is essential. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer fully accredited substance abuse treatment programs in the safety of a hospital.
The Family and Medical Leave Act provides a vital lifeline, allowing you to prioritize your health without sacrificing your career. If you’re considering rehab for substance abuse, FMLA can support your decision, ensuring you can return to your job post-treatment. Contact our admissions team today to learn more.