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What is the FMLA Law?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. The law also protects your job while you are getting medical treatment or another qualifying condition. In fact, many people opt to use FMLA for rehab, so it’s important for anyone considering alcohol or drug rehab to learn about how the FMLA law works.
What the FMLA law does, if you meet the requirements:
- It protects your job for up to 12 weeks (3 months) for medical reasons.
- It protects your privacy (only HR, upper management, medical may know).
- Allows you to collect PTO pay for any accrued sick leave or unused vacation.
- Gives you the time you need to get help for a drug or alcohol problem.
What the FMLA law does NOT do:
- Kick in automatically. You have to tell your employer ASAP and file paperwork.
- Allow you just leave work without telling your employer what’s happening.
- Guarantee you can return to your exact same job position at work.
- Allow you to collect a paycheck during leave (other than for PTO you may have)
How Do I Know if I Qualify to use FMLA for Rehab?
There are some rules and requirements that need to be met to use FMLA for rehab or any other health situation. eligible employees are those employed by a government agency or company that has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the workplace. You must also be a full-time employee to go to rehab using FMLA protection. The government defines this as having worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to your leave request.
Is Rehab Covered Under FMLA?
If you need time off to receive treatment and/or recover, you may be eligible for FMLA rehab leave. This means, yes you can use FMLA for rehab, surgery or recovering from an injury or illness. You may also use FMLA leave to care for a family member who has a serious health condition, such as physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition requiring hospitalization or rehabilitation.
Requirements to qualify for FMLA leave:
- You need to speak to your employer or HR dept and make sure paperwork is filed.
- Must have been a full-time employee at the company for at least 1 year.
- Your place of work must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
- You need to have a qualifying condition, i.e. using FMLA for drug treatment.
- You must have unpaid leave or vacation time (if you expect to be paid during FMLA)
Important Details About Applying for FMLA Protection
Note that FMLA leave is unpaid and the employee must make arrangements with their employer to use accrued paid time off (e.g., vacation or sick time) if they expect to receive any pay during this leave period. FMLA also does not guarantee that you can return to your exact same position at work after your leave period. But, if your original job isn’t available for some reason, they must offer you something equivalent with the same benefits and pay you had prior to taking FMLA leave.
If you believe you are eligible to go to rehab using FMLA, it is important to talk to your employer or HR department as soon as possible in order to make sure all the needed paperwork is filed and approved. Your employer may also be able to provide additional information regarding your eligibility and the process for requesting FMLA leave. The important thing to remember if you are intending to use FMLA to go to rehab is to get the process started as soon as possible.
How to Apply to Use FMLA for Rehab
To apply for FMLA leave, contact your Human Resources department or direct supervisor and let them know you intend to enter rehab using FMLA leave. Make sure to provide all necessary documents and information that is required for the FMLA application. You can find FMLA forms on the Department of Labor’s FMLA site here.
You may also need a note from your doctor explaining the need for rehab, so it’s a good idea to see your doctor about it.. Your employer may also have additional forms or requirements that you must meet in order to apply for FMLA leave.
Once you have submitted your application, your employer will review it and determine if you are eligible for FMLA leave. If approved, they will notify you of the details such as how long you can take off work and when. They will then provide you with any relevant forms or paperwork to sign so that you can officially begin taking FMLA leave.
Applying to use FMLA to go to rehab:
- Make sure you and your company meet the requirements.
- Tell your employer you intend to go to rehab and use FMLA.
- Ask your employer exactly what they need from you and when.
- Ask your employer to pay you out for any accrued PTO or vacation time during leave.
- See your family doctor and get a letter from them recommending you go to rehab.
Questions About Using FMLA for Rehab?
If you have questions about how to use FMLA for addiction treatment or drug and alcohol rehab in general, give us a call. 1st Step Behavioral Health is ready to help you or your loved one make an informed decision about addiction care.
We offer a safe and comfortable medical detox as well as residential drug treatment and outpatient addiction care. Our holistic alcohol and drug rehab center has been operating in South Florida for more than 20 years now. Give us a call at (855) 425-4846 begin a chat on our site or submit your health insurance for verification using our confidential form here.