Family Medical Leave Act
Addiction and substance abuse can drastically affect your life and your loved ones, leaving you feeling helpless. The idea of seeking substance abuse treatment may seem daunting or financially ruinous. After all, how are you going to ask your employer for several weeks or months off for substance abuse treatment?
Thankfully, there are legal protections for individuals who need to take time off to receive medical treatment including rehabilitation for addiction. This is covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
What is FMLA and how can it help you?The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enables individuals to receive medical treatments without the risk of losing their job or health insurance. This law allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of medical leave, which can be used to receive treatment or recover from medical procedures. This includes rehabilitation for addiction and substance abuse, which could potentially be life-saving for many. These protections also prohibit insurance companies from terminating your coverage.
Who qualifies for FMLA?
FMLA automatically covers all local, state, and federal government employees whether you work in a departmental office or in public service positions including police or public school employees. Employees in the private sector also qualify for FMLA as long as you meet the following criteria:
- You work part-time (at least 20 hours a week)
- You have been at your current place of employment for at least a year
- You work at or within 75 miles of a location where your company employs at least 50 people
When can you use FMLA?
The Family Medical Leave Act is designed to protect individuals in various scenarios that would require them to take extended time off work. This includes when:
- You are unable to work because of a serious health condition
- You are responsible for the care of an immediate family member who has a serious health condition You have a newborn child or newly adopted child in the family
- A family member is deployed in the Armed Forces
- You care for an ill or injured service member or veteran
How can I apply for FMLA?
Filing for FMLA can help facilitate the process of seeking addiction rehabilitation. If you qualify, your employer is legally required to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave. In addition, you may be able to use accrued PTO or sick leave to help you complete rehabilitation treatment.
To file for FMLA, you should use the official forms provided by the United States Department of Labor. Your employer can also provide the relevant form. When you are using FMLA to seek addiction treatment, you would submit the WH-380-E form. The form needs to be filled out jointly by you, your employer, and your healthcare provider.
It’s important to note that you do not need to disclose your specific illness to your employer, only that it’s an FMLA-protected condition. If you meet all requirements and documentation, your employer will then approve your leave.
If you are unsure if you qualify for FMLA or you need help with your application, don’t hesitate to contact us.