After returning from military life, transitioning to civilian living can be hard. And it can be especially hard when you find yourself in a good job, but addiction threatens to ruin it. Left untreated, substance use disorders often lead to problems at work, such as trouble completing assignments and difficulty showing up on time. For veterans who have already had to struggle to find employment, this often leads to asking: Can I use the FMLA for rehab?
Today, we’re breaking down everything about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and how veterans can use it to protect their jobs while receiving addiction and mental health support.
What Is the FMLA?
The Family and Medical Leave Act was signed into law by President Clinton in 1993. At the time, it was hailed as a protection for working-class families so that they could take time to deal with personal issues without risking their unemployment. Under the FMLA, employees are entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave in the following situations:
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Care of a new child within the first year of that child’s life
- Care of a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition
- A serious health issue that prevents an employee from performing functions of the job
This is not an exhaustive list of situations where an individual can receive 12 weeks of unpaid time off, but it shows the nature of the situations that the FMLA will cover. But since addiction treatment services are not specifically on this list, it may feel unclear whether you can use the FMLA for rehab.
The good news is that covered employees can absolutely use the FMLA for rehab. And during this period of leave, your employer cannot fire you, and upon your return they must offer you either your old job or a different job that fulfills the same role and responsibilities.
Being able to use the FMLA for drug rehab an other forms of addiction treatment is great news, but sadly it’s not available to everyone. Let’s take a look at who does and does not qualify for FMLA benefits.
Who Qualifies for FMLA Benefits?
There are clear Florida FMLA laws for who can use the FMLA for rehab. Some of these depend on how long you’ve worked with an employer, the size of your employer’s business, and similar factors. In Florida, you can use the FMLA for rehab if:
- You have worked at your current organization for at least one year
- You have worked at least 1,250 hours at your current company in the past calendar year
- Your employer has at least 50 employees who work within a 75-mile radius, and at least 50 employees have worked there for at least 20 weeks of the previous or current year
Unfortunately, this means that those at new jobs or who work for small businesses may not be eligible to use the FMLA for rehab. However, that does not mean that you have to leave your substance use disorder untreated. While medical detox and residential treatment are the most common starts for addiction treatment, those ineligible for the FMLA may benefit from outpatient treatment for veterans.
Outpatient rehab programs provide individuals with a way to get addiction treatment without disrupting work responsibilities. Typically, you will go to a Florida treatment center for a set number of days and hours per week, which can allow you to keep living at home and attending work or school while you get help. For example, at our veteran rehab center, we provide outpatient programming for one to two hours per day for several days a week.
In this way, if you find that you’re ineligible to use the FMLA for rehab, you can still get the addiction recovery support that you need. However, whether you qualify to use FMLA benefits or not, you may still have questions about receiving addiction treatment. Specifically, you may wonder if addiction rehabilitation is something that could really benefit you.
Do I Need Addiction Treatment?
When confronted with the possibility of taking time off work, it can be hard to tell if you really “need” treatment. But that voice telling you that it’s “not that bad” is likely just addiction talking, and it’s very good at finding reasons not to get help. If you’re seriously considering addiction treatment, that means that now is the time to seek professional assistance.
And the good news is that veterans can get addiction treatment that’s tailored to them and their experiences. Because of factors like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat exposure, veterans face increased risk of addiction. And when it comes to treatment, these issues need to be actively addressed.
At Heroes’ Mile, our veteran rehab programs address the issues that real veterans face every day. With veterans on staff, we relate to individuals in a way that civilian treatment centers just can’t. For us, taking care of military personnel is our highest priority, and our team of addiction specialists and medical professionals is ready to help you regain control of your life.
Would you like to learn more about enrolling in one of our addiction treatment programs? Call our friendly admissions specialists at 888-838-6692 or ask your questions online. No matter where you are in the recovery process, we’ve got your six!
Are you or a loved one in need of help?