Can I Use FMLA For Rehab?

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If you have developed an addiction, you might be wondering, “Is rehab covered under FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act)?

FMLA, enacted in 1993, provides qualifying individuals with the entitlement to take leave for drug and alcohol rehab, offering protection for those seeking treatment or caring for family members undergoing treatment. That said, this does not automatically protect your employment if your substance use has led to violations of company policy, especially if drug use occurred in the workplace before seeking treatment.

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Despite this, nobody should allow the fear of repercussions to deter them from seeking the help they need to address drug addiction or alcoholism. Many employers have strict policies against drug and alcohol use that impact work performance but are also supportive of employees who proactively seek treatment and demonstrate a commitment to recovery. The key is open communication and understanding your rights under FMLA, as well as the specific policies of your workplace. Read on to learn more about using FMLA leave for rehab and find out how to connect with effective and compassionate care.

Is Rehab Covered by FMLA?

FMLA was enacted in 1993 under President Clinton, seeking to harmonize workplace demands with family needs, offering Americans job security and maintaining access to employer-sponsored healthcare during family or personal health emergencies.

Under FMLA, federally protected leave includes 12 work weeks within a 12-month period for various reasons, including the birth or adoption of a child, caring for a newborn or newly placed child within one year, attending to a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition, or dealing with the employee’s own serious health condition that impedes their job performance – substance use disorder, for instance.

This law obligates employers with a workforce of 50 or more to allow eligible employees to return to their jobs or a comparable position after leave, ensuring the continuation of the employer’s contribution to health insurance premiums during this period.

Given the wide-ranging impacts of addiction on physical, mental, and emotional well-being, employees seeking treatment for addiction are safeguarded against job loss under FMLA. The provision of 12 weeks of medical leave offers an opportunity for individuals battling addiction to kickstart the recovery process, benefiting both their personal health and their professional contributions.

image representing Fmla for alcohol rehab

How to Use FMLA for Rehab

Using FMLA for drug rehab or FMLA for alcohol rehab requires you to follow these steps:

  • Understand your eligibility: Confirm that you are eligible for FMLA leave. You must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months and completed a minimum of 1,250 hours of work in the 12 months prior to taking leave. Additionally, your employer needs to have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of your workplace.
  • Gather documentation: Obtain a certification from a healthcare provider that verifies the need for substance abuse treatment. This documentation should outline that the treatment is a necessity and that you are unable to perform the essential functions of your job during this period.
  • Notify your employer: Inform your employer about your need to take FMLA leave as soon as possible. While emergency situations allow for notice as soon as feasible, typically, you should provide at least 30 days’ advance notice if the need for leave is foreseeable.
  • Submit FMLA paperwork: Complete any required FMLA paperwork provided by your employer. This may include a certification form to be filled out by your healthcare provider. Ensure that all forms are submitted by the deadlines set by your employer to avoid delays.
  • Communicate clearly: Maintain open communication with your employer regarding your leave status and any potential changes to your return-to-work date. Transparency can help facilitate a smoother process for both you and your employer.
  • Understand your rights and responsibilities: Familiarize yourself with your rights under FMLA, including job protection and health insurance benefits during your leave. Also, be aware of your responsibilities, such as cooperating with your employer’s requests for certification and providing updates on your leave status.
  • Plan your return to work: Prepare for your return to work after FMLA rehab, considering any necessary adjustments or accommodations that might be needed to facilitate your transition back into the workplace.

By following these steps, individuals can focus on their recovery, knowing their employment and health benefits are secure during their absence.

If you need help with this process, call our recovery experts for help at 949.694.8305.

How to Get Help Using FMLA for Rehab

The FMLA process for rehab can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re already dealing with the challenges of addiction. This is where our team of recovery experts comes into play. Dedicated to supporting you through every step of your journey toward recovery, our team offers comprehensive assistance to ensure you utilize your FMLA benefits effectively for rehab.

  • Free insurance coverage check: Your first step involves thoroughly reviewing your insurance coverage. Use our free insurance check to clarify the specifics of your policy, making sure that you understand what treatments and services are covered. This step is crucial for planning your rehab journey without financial surprises.
  • Guidance through FMLA paperwork: Understanding and filling out FMLA paperwork correctly is essential for a smooth approval process. Our recovery experts are familiar with the nuances of FMLA requests and can guide you through the paperwork, helping to ensure that your application is complete and accurately reflects your need for leave for rehab.
  • Liaison between you and your employer: If you’re concerned about communicating your need for rehab to your employer, our team can offer advice and strategies for approaching this conversation. We understand the importance of privacy and discretion and can provide guidance on how to request FMLA leave in a way that respects your confidentiality.
  • Continuous support: From the moment you reach out to us for help until you’re ready to return to work post-rehab, our team is here to offer support, answer questions, and provide the resources you need to make your recovery journey as seamless as possible.

By leveraging our expertise, you can focus on what truly matters –  your recovery and health. Let our recovery experts handle the complexities of using FMLA for rehab, offering peace of mind that the logistical aspects are taken care of. Reach out today to begin the process and take a significant step toward reclaiming your life from addiction.

inside a room at california detox representing fmla rehab

Get Confidential Rehab Under FMLA at California Detox

If you feel that you need to address drug or alcohol addiction under FMLA, we offer immersive and effective inpatient treatment at California Detox.

During supervised medical detoxification, you can tackle physical dependence on drugs or alcohol under controlled conditions and with access to medications to streamline the withdrawal process. After about one week of detox, you can move into ongoing treatment at our beachside facility in Laguna Beach, California.

The unique nature of all addictions means you can expect to engage with a personalized blend of treatments that may include:

Call California Detox today at 949.694.8305 and begin your recovery from addiction under FMLA.


Yes, you can use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for medical reasons, including substance abuse rehabilitation, provided you meet eligibility criteria such as having worked for your employer for at least 12 months.
Yes, when using FMLA for rehab, you may be required to provide a certification from a healthcare provider verifying that the addiction treatment is a medical necessity. This helps to ensure your leave is protected under the FMLA guidelines.


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