The Family Medical Leave Act: Does FMLA Cover Rehab?

Making the decision to get help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol is one that might change your life. But balancing your recovery journey alongside the responsibilities of work can be extremely challenging. And for many people, fear of losing their job keeps them from seeking professional addiction treatment. But there’s good news: You may be eligible to use FMLA for rehab.

If you are considering getting treatment for addiction but are nervous about what this will mean for your career, we’re here to break down your options that will allow you to get sober without losing the professional life you’ve worked hard for.

FMLA for rehab

What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act. This is a law that was established in the 90s to help employees and their loved ones to maintain their jobs even in the event that life hinders the ability to work. When you take an FMLA leave, you temporarily stop working in order to heal from familial, physical, or mental health issues.

During your leave, which extends up to 12 weeks, you do not get paid while you are not working. However, the most beneficial part of FMLA leave is that you do not have to fear about your job security. At the end of the leave, your employer is required by law to allow you to return to your previous position or to one that is equivalent.

Moreover, FMLA for rehab can give you the space you need to heal from many different types of substance use disorders—whether you need help for alcohol, opioids, meth, cocaine, or other addictions.


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This is great news, but sadly FMLA for rehab is not an option for everyone. Not all employers provide FMLA leave, but those that do stipulate that the time away must be dedicated to getting healthier, especially for substance abuse recovery. If you’re unsure whether or not your employer offers FMLA leave, you should speak with someone in your Human Resources department or a manager.

FMLA for Rehab: Is It Worth It?

Taking a prolonged period of time away from work and typical daily activities might feel impossible. There is a lot to consider if you are considering going to rehab, like what it will be like for your family relationships, your friendships, and your career. But this is exactly why FMLA exists. 

While you are on leave, your employer must continue to provide your normal benefits. Thus, you should still be covered by insurance for certain mental health treatments. Think of FMLA like pressing “pause”: When you are ready, you will return as a stronger person and a better employee.

time off for rehab

The truth is that addiction can greatly impact your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Not only can addiction prevent you from fulfilling your responsibilities in your job, but it can also put you at risk for future professional failures. This is especially true if you also struggle with symptoms of a mental health disorder. In this way, using FMLA for rehab could actually improve your career by making you a more reliable employee. In fact, studies show that when employees have mental health support in place at work, they tend to be more motivated, more productive, and more likely to build positive relationships with coworkers and/or superiors.

FMLA for rehab doesn’t just cover your sobriety. Of course, many people begin treatment with a safe detoxification program, but treatment goes much further than that. Your emotional wellbeing directly influences your ability to achieve and maintain recovery in all facets of your life. And professional addiction treatment will empower you with the coping skills and recovery strategies to maintain positive mental health alongside your newfound sobriety.

At an alcohol and drug treatment facility, you will have the opportunity to work on self-improvement through services such as: 

  • Inpatient programming
  • Individualized therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Recovery skills counseling
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Chronic pain management
  • Co-occurring mental health disorder counseling
  • Peer recovery support

You might not feel as though you have the time for a leave, but if you leave addiction untreated, you may face even worse consequences. And your career isn’t the only thing at stake—untreated addiction can be deadly. FMLA for rehab is not just a couple of months off of work. Instead, this is where the real work begins to prepare you for lifelong recovery.

Where to Go for Treatment During FMLA Leave

Life often moves at a break-neck pace—so much so that when you finally get the chance to hit that pause button and focus on recovery, you might not be sure where to start. This is why, at the Vance Johnson Recovery Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, we are here to help our patients every step of the way.

We work with you to help you feel prepared, refreshed, and confident in your sobriety when it comes to returning to work after alcohol and drug rehab. Explore our treatment options and get started on your recovery journey by calling 888-828-2623. If you aren’t yet ready to talk, you can still share your story and ask questions by submitting a confidential contact form. Recovery isn’t as far away as you might think.

As with any program, the length of time that you remain in treatment depends on your history, current symptoms, and recovery goals. It’s important to remember that addiction is a life-long battle that doesn’t go away after your time in treatment. However, the services that you’ll have in treatment are meant to help you maintain your sobriety for all your years to come.

Heather is a content writer from Ohio who has a sincere passion for psychology and addiction recovery. Her areas of interest include alcoholism, depression, and recovery options, to name a few.

Outpatient rehab is a treatment option that some facilities offer for people who are unable to completely leave their daily responsibilities. This type of treatment allows patients to work on their recovery goals during the day for a few hours and then return home. There are pros and cons to outpatient rehab programs so be sure to check in with a trusted addiction treatment professional to discuss the best course of action for your specific needs.

Heather is a content writer from Ohio who has a sincere passion for psychology and addiction recovery. Her areas of interest include alcoholism, depression, and recovery options, to name a few.

No, using FMLA for rehab should protect your job. When you are approved for FMLA leave, you are protected from losing your job for approximately 12 weeks. Upon your return, you should be able to return to your previous role or one that is equivalent to what you were doing before the leave.

Heather is a content writer from Ohio who has a sincere passion for psychology and addiction recovery. Her areas of interest include alcoholism, depression, and recovery options, to name a few.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, FMLA for rehab is possible as long as the person taking the leave (or their family member who is covered by FMLA) is actually receiving treatment during their time away from the job. Many employers approve FMLA to allow their employees to recover from whatever health concern they are facing, whether it be physical or mental.

Heather is a content writer from Ohio who has a sincere passion for psychology and addiction recovery. Her areas of interest include alcoholism, depression, and recovery options, to name a few.

Las Vegas Addiction Recovery

Located in dynamic Las Vegas, Nevada, the Vance Johnson Recovery Center (VJRC) a 44-bed facility is run by a skilled multi-disciplinary team of medical and behavioral health professionals that includes nurses, counselors, and doctors, along with complementary and alternative medicine specialists to provide our clients with a transformational experience that encompasses mind, body, and spirit. Our approach is holistic and grounded in research and evidenced-based best practices that help people develop the awareness and skills required to achieve and sustain recovery.

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