There are a number of factors to consider when you are thinking about going to rehab. What is most important is to do what is right for yourself and your health. Yet, for many people, there is a concern about their job. Will an employer terminate employment if you go to rehab? If you are using drugs or alcohol now at work, chances are good your employer views you as a liability risk. As a result, it is likely they will terminate your employment as a result. Going to rehab may improve your chances of remaining on board.

Do You Have Any Rights?

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may be one tool for you to use to protect your job. This is a federal law put in place in 1993 that aims to ensure that workers can take time off to care for their personal health needs and those of their immediate family members. It covers instances in which you are carrying for your own health during a serious illness, and that includes mental illness.

What does this mean for you? If you are struggling with addiction and want to enter rehab to get help, the FMLA allows you to do that. That means that if your employer qualifies for this, you can enter treatment and not have to worry about losing your job during that time.

FMLA provides qualified individuals with up to 12 weeks per year of time receiving treatment. During this time, you may or may not receive payment, as that depends on your employer’s rules. However, your health benefits during this time are not terminated. That means you still have your health insurance in place. Some employers will pay employees during this time, too.

Will My Employer Know?

One of the things that many people worry about with FMLA is telling their employer about their needs. Keep in mind that your privacy is protected. While you may need to inform your human resource manager about your need for time off and provide information from a doctor that verifies that you qualify, you do not have to provide details about your health to your employer.

How Do You Know If You Qualify?

First, your employer must be a private-sector employer with over 50 employees that work 20 or more weeks each year. It can also be a local, state, or federal government agency or any public or private elementary or secondary school. If your employer meets these requirements, then your eligibility is considered. You need to have worked for the employer for the last 12 months or more. You also have to have worked at least 1250 hours for the company during the 12 months preceding your medical leave and work in an area where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles. 

Making Decisions About Your Care

Even if you are unsure if you qualify for FMLA, you may want to have an open and honest conversation with your employer about what is happening to you and why. In many situations, your employer will discuss your care with you openly. For example, some companies have mental health treatment programs available to individuals who request them. Find out what provisions your company asks for.

Discussing your needs with your employer may mean you need to get some questions answered. Here are a few things to consider.

  • Ask your employer what types of mental health programs are available to you through your current benefits.
  • If you need to take time off for FMLA, will they cover you during that time, providing you with an ongoing salary while you are out?

When you open the door to this type of conversation, remember that you are in control over your personal health information. You do not have to tell your employer about your needs or concerns. You also do not have to provide any updates about your condition over time if you use FMLA. Only you know how your employer may react to this information.

Let a Treatment Center Offer Some Help for You

In many situations, rehab treatment can be one of the best things you do for yourself as an individual with an addiction. That means that, over time, it is going to be necessary to get the care you need. If your employer offers FMLA, make that the starting point for this process. If not, or if you are unsure what steps to take, remember that your employer may already know that you have a problem.

Reach out to our admissions team today to ask questions and gain insight into your options.

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