When Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993, they may not have known how many people it would help. Every year, 20 million people take leave from their jobs under the law. And whether they’re caring for a sick family member or entering drug rehab, their employment status is protected thanks to the FMLA.
At Olympus Recovery, we strive to ensure each of our clients gets the help they need with minimal interference to their lives. This is why the law is so important. Knowing you can take an extended absence from work under the FMLA for drug rehab removes a major concern for most people. This guide provides everything you need to know about the statute.
If you have additional questions, reach out to us today.
What Is FMLA?
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a law passed and implemented in 1993. It provides job protection for eligible employees who take leaves of absence to deal with certain medical and family issues. While the law does not offer paid leave for these absences, it does prevent damage to your career based on necessary absenteeism.
When looking at common questions asked about the law, “What is FMLA coverage for addiction treatment?” ranks among the most frequent. Fortunately for those seeking drug rehab, the FMLA provides the same employment protections. This applies whether you need treatment yourself or have to care for loved ones when a family member enters rehab.
Your employer must fall into the following categories for you to receive job protection under the FMLA for addiction:
- Private employer with at least 50 employees
- Local, state, or federal government agency
- Elementary or secondary school
If your employer falls into one of these categories, they must abide by FMLA protections. There are additional requirements you must meet, however, in order to qualify. These include:
- You have a tenure of at least 12 months with your employer.
- During the last 12 months, you’ve worked at least 1,250 hours.
- Your employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your job site.
If you and your employer meet these requirements, you can take FMLA leave due to addiction. Of course, you’ll need to get a valid diagnosis from a healthcare professional. And before you take time off, you must notify your employer that your leave qualifies under the FMLA. If you’re worried about revealing issues with addiction to your employer, though, there are a few things you should know.
Can My Boss Fire Me for Addiction?
Many people asking “What is the FMLA used for?” are doing so because they’ve heard common myths. One of the most prevalent falsehoods is that an employer cannot fire someone over addiction. The fact that addiction is a disease makes this belief seem logical. In reality, there are actually a few situations where employers can fire someone because of addiction.
Employer Has a Zero-Tolerance Drug Policy
If your employer has a no-drug policy that they apply in a non-discriminatory way, it’s possible they might fire you when you seek FMLA protection. While you certainly still have protections under the law, your termination will have nothing to do with drug rehab. Instead, losing your job would center on violation of company policy. Fortunately, there are ways around this.
Addiction Interferes With Job Performance
If you miss work for a week due to drug use, your boss is likely to terminate you regardless of whether you seek treatment. The FMLA protects you when seeking treatment for addiction — a recognized medical condition. It does not provide safeguards, however, if substance abuse interferes with your job performance.
“Then What Is FMLA Good For?”
You may now wonder “What is FMLA good for?” if you can still lose your job. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this. To avoid termination due to drug use, simply keep your reason for FMLA leave private. This is a medical condition, so your employer has no right to demand you reveal it.
If you’re trying to avoid termination due to negative job performance, though, starting treatment immediately is your best bet. Once you’re in recovery, you can get back to performing as your best self. Contact Olympus Recovery today to learn more about starting the FMLA process.
What Is FMLA to Those in Recovery?
To those seeking help to overcome addiction, the FMLA is a lifesaving tool. Knowing that their employment status won’t change due to treatment is a relief to most people. Of course, it’s prudent to take measures to ensure you know your rights. Not all employers will appreciate you exercising your rights under the law, so in those situations, knowledge truly is power.
At Olympus Recovery, we want to make sure each of our clients has a life worth returning to. A huge part of this involves ensuring you have gainful employment to go back to. If your questions have gone from “What is FMLA?” to “How can I gain protection under the law?”, contact us today to learn how you can move forward. It’s your life, and it’s time for you to take it back.