Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
By collaborating with employees taking FMLA, we help ensure individuals have access to the care they need without compromising the status of their employment. We work with individuals and their employers to facilitate a smooth transition into treatment and back to work.
What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
Passed in 1993 under President Bill Clinton, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a piece of federal legislation that grants eligible individuals up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave. The law provides millions of Americans with job stability, access to employer-sponsored healthcare, and the ability to care for themselves or family members in times of medical urgency.
People may use the FMLA to take unpaid leave for a number of reasons, including:
- Taking care of one’s health during an illness
- Caring for a sick immediate family member
- The birth of a child
- The placement of a foster or adoptive child in the home
Under the FMLA, employers aren’t required to pay employees, however, they do have to keep the employee’s health insurance active.
Can I Use the FMLA to Go to Rehab?
Many people are pleasantly surprised to discover that they can use the FMLA to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to attend an addiction treatment program. The FMLA defines serious health conditions as anything that requires inpatient care or continuing treatment, which addiction often does.
For individuals struggling with addiction, the FMLA permits them to get the treatment they deserve without having to sacrifice their employment or their health insurance. Maintaining insurance coverage is especially important, as insurance may cover some or all of rehab.
Can I Use the FMLA for Mental Health Treatment?
If your mental illness prevents you from performing your daily responsibilities or duties on the job and requires extensive treatment, it qualifies as a serious health condition. As a result, you can use the FMLA to take unpaid time off for mental health treatment.
Who is Eligible for Family and Medical Leave?
Not everyone qualifies for FMLA eligibility. You are eligible if you:
- Work for a covered employer
- Work in an area where their employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles
- Have worked for your employer for 12 months or more
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before taking medical leave
A covered employer is any:
- Local, state, or federal government agency
- Private or public elementary or secondary school
- Private-sector employer with 50 or more employees working 20 or more weeks each year
If your employment meets these requirements and you need substance abuse or mental health treatment, the FMLA ensures you maintain your insurance coverage and have your job waiting for you when you get done with treatment.
What if I Need Treatment that Lasts Longer than 12 Weeks?
Rehab usually lasts 30-90 days, so in most cases, 12 weeks of leave is an adequate amount of time away from work in order for you to establish a foundation in your recovery. However, in the event that you need more time off work, you can also consider using sick time, vacation time, or PTO days. Using this time now will allow you to get the treatment you need so you can get sober, resume work, and get your life back on track.
Do I Have to Use All of My FMLA Leave at Once?
Fortunately, you can spread out your 12 weeks of FMLA over multiple smaller time periods. This means if you’ve already taken two weeks of leave this year, you still have 10 more you can use to go to rehab. Breaking up your family and medical leave can also be beneficial for those who need to use it for outpatient therapy sessions.
How 1st Step Supports Those on Family and Medical Leave
At 1st Step, we understand the importance of supporting individuals navigating the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for addiction treatment and mental health support.
We provide personalized guidance to clients seeking treatment with us under FMLA provisions. Our team collaborates with individuals and their employers to streamline the process, ensuring clarity on the duration of their leave, documentation requirements, and the necessary steps to facilitate a smooth return to work.
Our commitment to client success extends beyond the duration of the FMLA leave. We remain accessible to individuals throughout their treatment or recovery process, offering ongoing support, encouragement, and resources as they transition back into the workplace. At 1st Step, we believe that supporting individuals during their FMLA leave is integral to their holistic well-being.
Take the First Step Today
We can help you get better. Contact us today to find out which program might be right for you, or to begin the process of arranging for treatment.