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Can I Use the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to Go to Rehab?

Some people assume that people living with addiction are unable to work, but in reality, most people who abuse drugs and alcohol are employed. Workplace substance abuse contributes to problems like frequent absences, workplace accidents, and interpersonal conflicts on the job.

People with drug and alcohol addiction often require comprehensive treatment to recover and move forward. High-quality, effective substance abuse treatment programs are widely-available and accessible to many–but most people living with addiction don’t seek the treatment they need.

There are many reasons people may not go to rehab when it’s clear they need help. Some may be in denial about the severity of their addiction, and some may want to steer clear of the unjust stigma surrounding substance abuse.

Others may put off going to treatment because they are afraid of losing their job if they go to rehab. They may also worry about taking time off work or what their employer will think of them if they go to rehab. Some may fear that seeking treatment may put them on a path toward missed professional opportunities–or unemployment.

The fear of losing your job shouldn’t keep you from getting the help you need. Specific federal laws protect people’s employment during treatment for addiction. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one of these laws. Understanding the protections offered by FMLA can help you make informed decisions about seeking addiction treatment when you need it.

To learn more about using FMLA for addiction treatment or your treatment options, reach out to the staff at Next Step Recovery.

Family and Medical Leave Act


Using the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for Addiction Treatment

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a significant piece of legislation passed in 1993. The law was created to protect workers from losing their job while going through treatment for medical conditions, including addiction treatment. Under the Family Medical Leave Act, employees may take a leave of absence to receive addiction treatment without fear of losing their job. This law also provides protection for people’s health insurance by preventing employers from terminating their coverage while their employees undergo treatment.

According to the Department of Labor, employees may take up to 12 weeks away from work to receive treatment. Employees must meet certain conditions to qualify for protection under FMLA, including:

  • They must have worked for the company for 12 consecutive months
  • They must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during their 12 months of employment
  • The company must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of their location

Employees can use FMLA for rehab without risking their employment if they meet these requirements.

FMLA also guarantees that when you return to work, you will return to the same or a similar position with equal pay. It’s important to note that your employer is not required to pay you during your leave of absence.

Types of Addiction Treatment Covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

People must attend an evidence-based treatment program at a licensed facility to qualify for FMLA protection during rehab. Addiction treatment is available in many settings and levels of care, including:


Levels of Care

  • Outpatient programs
  • Inpatient and residential treatment programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP/Partial care)
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)
  • Dual diagnosis treatment

The severity of your addiction and other personal factors will determine the level of care you require. You will likely be allowed to attend any level of addiction treatment care under FMLA protection as long as it meets the necessary standards and is recommended by a medical or addiction professional.

How Can I Use the FMLA for Drug Rehab?

As long as you qualify and work for a qualifying employer, you can use the FMLA to go to drug and alcohol rehab. Following these steps to use FMLA for addiction treatment can help make the process as easy as possible.


FMLA for Rehab


During treatment, recovery must remain your priority. Following these steps will likely help you avoid unanticipated stress or surprises so that you can focus on your treatment and return to work with confidence later.

Find the Treatment You Deserve Today at Next Step Recovery

You do not have to carry the weight of your addiction alone, and you don’t have to sacrifice your job to get the help that you need. Comprehensive, compassionate treatment is available. If you or someone you love requires addiction treatment, reach out to the staff at Next Step to learn about your treatment options.

Our admission staff will help you navigate your insurance, help you arrange a leave of absence if necessary, and offer ongoing support at every stage of your recovery journey. Don’t wait another day for the help you need. Call now to get started.

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