Addiction affects people’s lives in many ways. It can wreak havoc on their mental health, their bodies, and their social lives. Addiction keeps people from engaging fully in their lives, making new goals, or even being able to manage their daily responsibilities.

While there are many reasons people should get addiction treatment when they need it, they may have concerns about taking time away from their daily routines to get help. For many people, one of the biggest worries is how they will take time away from work without losing their job.

In 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed. The primary goal of this law is to help working people balance their work and personal lives. It allows people to take time away from work to take care of their own health or to support a loved one who requires medical treatment without fear of losing their job.[1]

Understanding how FMLA can protect your job during rehab can help you make informed choices about your addiction treatment options. If you or a loved one require treatment for substance abuse, you may be able to use FMLA to go to rehab and get the help you need.

Do I Need to Go to Rehab?

If you struggle with an unhealthy relationship with drugs or alcohol, you may benefit from addiction treatment. Addiction can happen in stages, and getting the help you need as soon as possible will help you have the best chance at a full, lifelong recovery. Some common signs of addiction include:

  • Needing more of the substance to get the same effect
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about drugs or alcohol
  • Lots of time spent getting, using, or recovering from using drugs or alcohol
  • Continuing to use drugs and alcohol despite negative consequences
  • Changes in mood, appetite, or sleep
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you reduce or quit using drugs or drinking

Having any of these signs might mean that you need treatment to address your addiction. Generally, treatment for addiction involves an evaluation to help your team develop a treatment plan, medically supervised detox, and a treatment program. Addiction treatment programs usually include medications, therapy, education, and holistic treatments.

Most people have difficulties when attempting to quit using drugs or drinking on their own. They may experience uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms, may lack the support to quit successfully, or may have intense cravings that lead them to relapse during the detox period. For the best chance at a complete, safe detox, it is important to get professional addiction treatment.

Can I Use FMLA for Rehab?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees who work for covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave each year. You will need to contact your own company about their FMLA policy, but most workers have protection under this law. There are some requirements you must meet to qualify for protection under FMLA. You must have worked for the company for at least one year and 1250 hours, and the company must have at least 50 employees. The 50-employee rule doesn’t apply if you work for a local educational agency or a public agency.[2]

Under FMLA, you are entitled to take a leave of absence of up to 12 weeks to receive medical treatment, including addiction treatment, or to care for a loved one in rehab without fear of losing their job.[3]

If you require treatment for addiction, check with your employer about applying for a leave of absence under the FMLA law. This can be a great way for you to go to rehab without getting fired.

Will I Still Be Paid if I Use FMLA to Go to Rehab?

While your job will be safe when you are in rehab, your employer is not required to pay you during your leave of absence. Your employer is required to continue your health insurance coverage, although you will be required to contribute financially towards them like you would if you were collecting a paycheck.

You may be allowed–or required–to use your accumulated PTO or paid vacation days during your leave of absence.[3]

To apply for a leave of absence under FMLA before going to rehab, you will need to:

  • Apply 30 days in advance, if possible
  • Stay in contact with your employer about any changes to the date you’ll return to work
  • Return to work after your leave of absence–your employer must let you go back to a similar job with identical pay upon your return

Your rehab facility may offer assistance when applying for a leave of absence under FMLA. They may also help you coordinate with your health insurer to determine what coverage for addiction treatment exists in your plan.

Taking FMLA to go to rehab for addiction

Get The Care You Need and Deserve

Woburn Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

(781) 622-9190

Learn More About Using FMLA for Rehab at Woburn Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you love require treatment for addiction, reach out to the staff at Woburn Addiction Treatment. We offer a range of programs designed to support and empower people so they can overcome addiction and learn to live healthy, fulfilling lives. If you need treatment for addiction or support at any stage of recovery, do not wait another day. Call us now to get started.


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