Using FMLA

Phoenix/Scottsdale Arizona’s Premier Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center


Using FMLA to find the treatment that works for you and your employer


The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 makes it possible for employees to keep their jobs secure while undergoing addiction treatment. What does one need to know about FMLA, and how does it apply to rehabilitation? One of the major concerns of people thinking about addiction treatment is job security. If they’re deciding to go through inpatient rehabilitation, this means that they need to take a hiatus from their jobs. However, this thought leaves many hesitant because they don’t have a guarantee of employment once they resume their routines. Thankfully, the FMLA leave for rehab was created to cover employee rights.


What is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides employees with eligible status to have unpaid leave without losing their jobs. The FMLA covers absences that are related to medical and family issues, which is usually in conjunction with and continuation of health insurance coverage if it was provided initially by the employer.A need for inpatient care.

Does FMLA cover rehab?

The simple answer is YES. Substance use disorders are considered a medical condition that can disrupt your ability to work. It is helpful to know that you can claim FMLA for drug rehab or FMLA for alcohol rehab.

In summary, here are the FMLA guidelines in relation to rehab if you do plan to file a claim:

FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act of 1993) can be utilized for various reasons:

  • A need for inpatient care.
  • A need to be absent for more than three days with continuing care by a health care provider.
  • Incapacity related to pregnancy or prenatal care.
  • Treatment for chronic and/or serious health conditions.
  • Any permanent or long-term incapacitation.
  • Some conditions requiring multiple treatments over time.
  • The birth of an employee’s baby or placement of an adoptive or foster child with an employee.
  • Caring for a seriously ill immediate family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent.

 The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains addiction as a complicated disease that affects a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. Employees seeking addiction treatment are protected from job loss under FMLA.

To use FMLA an employee must:

  • Have worked for their employer for 12 months or longer.
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months preceding their medical leave
  • Work in an area where their employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles
  • FMLA doesn’t ensure that an employee gets paid while in rehab/treatment. The point of FMLA is that a person keeps their job or will be rehired after rehab/treatment for a similar job with equal pay.
  • If you intend to go to rehab protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you must give your employer prior notification. If you fail to do so, you will no longer be protected, and possibly face termination from your job. So, the best bet is to give your employer enough notice, but these types of things can come out of nowhere—and whether drug rehab is court ordered or not it can come as a surprise.
  • In some cases, a person can be fired from a job for going to rehab, however, an employee cannot terminate a person who has opted to use FMLA to go to treatment. “If, however, the employer has an established policy, applied in a nondiscriminatory manner that has been communicated to all employees, that provides that under certain circumstances, including enrolling in a substance abuse program, an employee may be terminated for substance abuse, pursuant to that policy an employee may be terminated whether or not the employee is presently taking FMLA leave” (U.S. Department of Labor).

Deciding to undergo addiction treatment under FMLA? Illuminate Recovery can guide you thru the process to get you the help that you deserve.


“When I had to go to rehab, I was worried I was going to lose my job and the insurance that was paying for treatment. I was terrified. I reached out to my boss who put me in contact with my HR department and told them I needed to go on a medical leave. They didn’t ask any questions and I didn’t have to tell them I had a drug problem. They gave me a form and Doctor at Illuminate Recovery filled it all out for me. I turned it in and was able to keep my job and health insurance, I was able to go back to work when I completed the program. Using FMLA was literally a life-saver.” – Anonymous Client

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