Does FMLA Cover Substance Abuse Treatment in Bright Futures?

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The best way for persons who are suffering from substance use disorder to get better is to seek professional help. Licensed clinicians can help you achieve long term sobriety and live a fulfilling and happy life. However, we realize that asking for help is not easy. Besides the many personal struggles that persons who are dealing with addiction need to go through, they also need to think about how they will organize leave from work. Thankfully, there are numerous systems in place that can help you take care of your work absence. Today, we are going to be discussing does FMLA cover substance abuse treatment in Bright Futures, and how the law can protect your privacy.

What is FMLA?

FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act, and it is a federal law that was passed into effect in 1993. The mail goal of the law was to find a way to bridge the requirements of the modern workplace with the needs of individuals and their families. It is geared towards providing job security, as well as employer-provided healthcare for individuals and families in need. If you were wondering is does FMLA cover substance abuse treatment in Bright Futures, you should know that under the law you are guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave. You can use this time to check yourself to a treatment center and begin your recovery.

However, there are a few considerations you should keep in mind. If you want to use FMLA leave, you’ll want to know is rehab covered under FMLA, as well as all the details regarding your rights. You can go to the Department of Labor website and read up on the resources they have available there. However, eligible employees of covered employers are entitled to take a leave while their job will be protected. The FMLA will allow you to take time off from work for mental health treatments if you are diagnosed by a licensed physician. Additionally, you must also attend treatment by a health care provider, or by a provider of health care services on referral by a health care provider. Therefore in order to answer does FMLA cover substance abuse treatment in Bright Futures Treatment Center, we first need to know if you are eligible.

FMLA offers job protected leave.
You can go back to your job after completing treatment.

Who is covered under the FMLA?

Only those who work under covered employers are able to take time off work. So if you want to find out is alcohol rehab covered under FMLA, you first need to check if your employer is covered. Covered employers usually fall into one of the following categories:

  • Public agencies. This includes local, state and federal agencies.
  • Public or private elementary and secondary schools.
  • Private sector employers. However, your employer needs to have 50 or more employees.

When it comes to employees, they will also need to meet certain criteria:

  • You have a serious health condition. You don’t have to worry is drug rehab covered under FMLA because substance abuse is recognized as a mental disorder. This means that persons with substance use disorder are classified as having a serious health condition.
  • Work for a covered employer. We have listed the details for which employers are covered above.
  • Have worked for that employer for 12 months. You will need to have worked at least a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12 month period. An important thing to note is that the 12 month period doesn’t need to be consecutive.
  • You work where the company has at least 50 employees in a 75 mile radius.

There could be additional eligibility factors, so your best course of action is to check with the Department of Labor is rehab covered under FMLA for you. Notable exceptions include flight crew employees due to the special hours of service. If you need more information, we have a detailed FAQ section available on our site. However, we also recommend contacting the human resources department of your company. They will probably be able to help you with the paperwork, and the FMLA guarantees confidentiality.

Is rehab covered under FMLA?

The Bright Futures Treatment Center in South Florida offers several different programs of treatment for individuals who are suffering from substance use disorder. Addiction treatment is considered necessary for the long term recovery of patients who are struggling with addiction. You can use FMLA if you are unable to work due to a serious health condition. A licensed physician will diagnose your substance use disorder as a serious mental health condition. The law states that you can use FMLA for any health condition which requires inpatient care or continued treatment from a healthcare provider.

It’s not uncommon for persons who are suffering from a mental health condition to develop a substance use disorder. Thankfully, Bright Futures is equipped to treat dual diagnosis patients who are diagnosed with both mental health and substance abuse. Not only is rehab covered under FMLA, but you can use that time to treat both disorders at once. Keep in mind that dual diagnosis is a relatively new concept, and that not every treatment center is equipped to offer this kind of treatment.

In Bright Futures, we know that what each patient is experiencing is different. For this reason we always create an individualized treatment plan. We provide our patients with care based on the extent of their substance abuse and their mental state.

FMLA can help you balance health and work.
You can recover and lead a healthy and sober life.

Can you take time off work with FMLA for rehab?

The Family and Medical Leave Act will allow you to take time off work, provided that you work for a covered employer. The leave that is granted by the FMLA is 12 weeks per year. Those 12 weeks are unpaid and job-protected, meaning that you cannot be fired for taking time to go to rehab. However, in order for you receive leave entitlement you will need to have one of the following reasons:

  • For the birth of a newborn. If you or your spouse have given birth, you can take time off within one year of the birth.
  • To care for a child through adoption or foster care. You can take leave within one year of the child’s placement under your care.
  • To care for a family member. This needs to be a member of your immediate family, such as a spouse, child or parent. Additionally, they need to be suffering from a serious condition so that you could be eligible for leave.
  • To care for your own health. You must be diagnosed with a serious health condition.


Persons who are suffering from addiction can be eligible for leave entitlement under that last provision. If you are still unsure is alcohol rehab covered under FMLA, or is drug rehab covered under FMLA, you can go to the Department of Labor website to see what falls under a serious health condition. There you will see that you can only take leave to receive care from health care providers. However, since substance abuse is treated as a serious health condition, you may also take leave to care for a family member who is receiving treatment for substance abuse.

How to tell if your addiction is a serious health condition

The FMLA will cover leave for serious health conditions. The only sure way to know if your addiction is serious and to find out is rehab covered under FMLA is to talk to a primary care physician. Unfortunately, dealing with addiction can be very difficult, and we realize that asking for help requires tremendous amounts of strength and determination. Even coming to terms with the fact that you have a problem is something many shy away from. Gathering the courage to talk to a physician so that you can get a diagnosis might seem frightening or impossible. Nonetheless, it is a necessary step if you wish to get better.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is dealing with substance use issues, there are several signs you can look for. The clearest one is probably that the person in question has trouble controlling usage, or that they are physically dependent. We also have a list of 10 questions which can help you determine if you are struggling with substance abuse. Substance abuse can also lead to mental addiction. This can cause feelings of crushing fear and thoughts that sobriety is forever unattainable. On the contrary, this is not true, and you can get better. However, your journey starts with you admitting that you have a problem.

The first phase in admitting that you have a substance use problem is called Pre-contemplation. This is where you can acknowledge that an issue exists. However, individuals may yet not be fully prepared to seek treatment. In the Contemplation phase individuals typically start to examine their behavior and the consequences is brings. It’s not until the Action phase that individuals are ready to ask for professional help.

Ask your HR is alcohol covered under FMLA.
Alcoholism is recognized by the FMLA as a serious health condition.

Is alcohol rehab covered under FMLA?

It is estimated that in America, more than 15 million people suffer from alcohol abuse. Alcohol use disorder affects individuals on both a physical and a mental level causing intense dependence. What’s worse, alcohol abuse can cause numerous health issues. Prolonged alcohol use typically increases over time due to the gradual increase of tolerance. In order to break this vicious cycle, individuals should take time off work and go into rehab. At the Bright Futures facility in Boynton Beach we offer a comprehensive alcohol treatment program which can begin immediately after patients complete their detox.

A complete recovery takes time, and patients are expected to complete their inpatient treatment before being eligible for outpatient care. If you need to take time off work to focus on your recovery, it’s natural to wonder is alcohol rehab covered under FMLA. According to the FMLA guidelines, you can take time off under the following conditions:

  • You cannot work due to a serious medical condition. This can include a physical or mental condition that requires inpatient care, or continued treatment by a healthcare provider.
  • You are incapacitated by substance abuse. You are unable to work or perform regular daily activities. This inability can stem from a serious illness or from its treatment or subsequent recovery.

Therefore, the answer to is alcohol rehab covered under FMLA is yes; however a healthcare provider must first recommend the treatment. This means that you cannot miss work due to your alcohol addiction, and then use the FMLA as an excuse for your absence.

FMLA covers 12 weeks of therapy.
You can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to complete inpatient care under FMLA.

Is drug rehab covered under FMLA?

Unfortunately, even if you are suffering from serious drug use addiction, you can’t simply leave your job to enter rehab. There are certain conditions that need to be met before you can get time off work. As you can see, answering “is drug rehab covered under FMLA” and “will your leave immediately be granted”, needs to come with a bit of an explanation.

While you can request leave from work without disclosing your reasons; in order to be covered by the FMLA your leave needs to be recommended by a healthcare provider. Once your leave has been approved, you must use that time to actually go into rehab and receive treatment. You will have up to 12 weeks of unpaid time where your job will be protected. This should give you enough time to finish your impatient treatment program, and you can then return to your job. In case you still require additional treatment after your leave is over, you can continue your therapy in an intensive outpatient program. Taking part in an outpatient program will let you go back to employment while you continue to receive therapy.

Addiction is complicated and organizing your recovery can also be a difficult process. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, and we will gladly explain is drug rehab covered under FMLA for your place of employment. Our staff is compassionate, highly trained, and knowledgeable and we will gladly help you organize your admission. You might be surprised to learn that you can even take time off to care for a family member who is going through recovery.

Will the rehab information be confidential?

Entering a rehabilitation facility is always confidential. You should know that, as part of our admissions process, our admission specialists will ask you some questions. These are intended to better understand your situation and which type of treatment you will require. Any information you give us will of course remain private.

Your healthcare providers are not allowed to share any privileged information regarding your health or your treatment with anyone. This is covered under the HIPAA act of 1996, and it states that only you have control over who can access your health records. Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that employers must keep all information about substance use and its treatment of their employees confidential.

Woman looking up FMLA guidelines for rehab.
Your rehab information will be kept confidential.

Can you keep your job or will you get fired if you go to rehab?

The FMLA does offer employee job protection for a 12 week period. Under law, your employer is not allowed to take any punitive or discriminatory action against you for taking FMLA leave. Sadly there are a few caveats to this. First of all, you must quality for the FMLA protection under the specific guidelines we have outlined in this article. However, your employer is allowed to have policies in place regarding substance use. They may seek to use these policies to terminate your employment.

Your employer can fire you if:

  • They already have a policy in place regarding employee substance use.
  • They policy itself states that you can be terminated from your job for substance use. The termination can happen regardless of your FMLA leave.
  • The policy is non-discriminatory in nature, and applies equally to all employees.
  • All employees are aware of the policy. Your employer is obliged to communicate the exact details of the policy to you.

Keep in mind that such a policy cannot prevent you from taking FMLA leave to take care of a family member who is receiving treatment. Another thing to note is that your employer can terminate you if you are currently abusing illegal drugs. However, they are not allowed to discriminate against you, or refuse to hire you based on your previous drug use.

Does FMLA cover substance abuse treatment?

Under the FMLA both alcohol and illegal drug use can fall under substance abuse. They can be considered serious mental conditions for which you can seek days off from work in order to receive treatment. The leave you are eligible for is unpaid, but you are offered job security. However absence from work due to substance use will not qualify your for FMLA approved leave.

For you to actually get FMLA covered leave, you need to attend a treatment program that has been recommended by a professional healthcare provider. Bright Futures offers patients treatment in multiple stages, but you need to obtain the recommendation prior to enrolling treatment. Otherwise your time away from work won’t be covered by FMLA.

Although asking for help is hard, you can begin your recovery by talking to a physician. Once they recommend treatment, you can contact our admissions staff who can talk you through the rest of our admissions process. If you are confused or scared how to proceed, you can even contact us first and our rehab coordinators can answer all of your questions. You will be greeted by fully trained and compassionate staff. They can go into details about how recovery functions, and they can also explain does FMLA cover substance abuse treatment with your employer.

End notes

We have gone over who is eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act coverage. Hopefully, by now you should understand does FMLA cover substance abuse treatment in Bright Futures for your job. However, if you have any doubts regarding your eligibility for unpaid leave – feel free to call us, and we can explain how you can prepare yourself for entering rehab. Although addiction is a disease of the body and mind, if you are determined and have the right kind of professional help you will be able to make a full recovery. Long term sobriety is an achievable goal and there are laws in place, such as the FMLA and the ADA, which can help you balance your work and your health.


1.  What is Bright Futures Treatment Center’s location?

We have a desirable location that is close to the ocean. You can find us at:

2320 South Seacrest Blvd.

Suite #300

Boynton Beach, Florida 33435


2. What accreditations does Bright Futures have?

We take no chances when it comes to your safety. We hold all the important accreditations for this industry, including:

  • The Joint Commission NPO
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR)
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families
  • National Council on Alcoholism and other Drug Dependencies (NCADD)
  • NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals

3. What is the duration of the programs?

Every program will last as long as you need it to. This is something we tailor according to the circumstances of our client’s life and addiction.

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