Addiction is a condition that does not discriminate on who it affects. Underage individuals, adults, and seniors may all grapple with addiction, for different reasons and with different challenges. In all cases, addiction treatment is often a necessary commitment, which can put the individual’s life on hold.
In the case of employed adults, the challenge with this lies in maintaining employment. If you’re an active professional of any kind, you likely understand this well. You may have moved past the initial hurdle of deciding to seek help, only to find yourself confused. How can you keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL? If addiction treatment takes time, how can you put your duties to those you care about on hold? And what about the future, if addiction treatment ends up costing you your job?
As the professionals for addiction treatment Boynton Beach FL trusts, we at Bright Futures Treatment understand these concerns well. To help set your mind at ease, in this article we’ll go through this troubling subject and offer our insights.
Employment protections under the law
First, as you begin your search on this subject, you should firmly understand your rights under the law. This is a fundamental part of the process, so you should at all times know how your treatment is protected.
That’s not to say the law covers all treatment indefinitely, however, or that your employer can’t take action later. To illustrate this, let us explain.
#1 Family And Medical Leave (FMLA)
One of the most common questions we get is, “is drug rehab covered under FMLA”? This is a very relevant question in the context of employment, and does deserve your attention.
What exactly is FMLA?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law passed in 1993. The law addresses employers, enshrining into law that employees may receive “unpaid, job-protected leave”.
Understandably, this is the foundation as you seek to keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL or elsewhere in the country. For simplicity, FMLA is best explained through the “rule of 12s”:
- An employee must have worked for an employer for at least 12 months,
- and for at least 1,250 hours during that 12-month period, to be eligible for FMLA; in which case,
- they may take up to 12 unpaid, job-protected weeks off in a 12-month period.
In those cases, employees are eligible to healthcare benefits normally offered by their employer. These do depend on your individual contract, however. The Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) incentivizes employers to provide health insurance to their employees, but it’s not mandatory.
Who does FMLA cover?
That said, FMLA does not apply to all employers and employees – only the majority. Specifically, it applies to the following employers:
- All public agencies
- All public and private elementary and secondary schools
- Companies with 50 or more employees
In addition, the above “rule of 12s” aside, FMLA applies to employees who work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
As for whether it covers addiction treatment, it does. FMLA specifically covers, according to the Department of Labor (DOL), “serious health conditions”. As defined by the FMLA, the term explicitly includes:
- “Treatment for substance abuse”, as well as
- “Continuing treatment under the care or supervision of a health care provider”, and
- treatment for “severe depression”, relevant in cases of dual diagnosis
These should, typically, suffice if you seek to keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL. If, for any reason, they do not, FMLA also includes special rules for “employees of local education agencies” and “military families” which you may explore at your leisure.
Does FMLA always protect employment?
However, notably, FMLA does not always protect employment. This is a very important distinction that bears noting here.
As the Department of Justice (DOJ) clarifies on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which we’ll also cover next, employers can:
- “prohibit the illegal use of drugs and the use of alcohol at the workplace by all employees”
- “require that employees shall not be under the influence of alcohol or be engaging in the illegal use of drugs at the workplace”
- “require that employees behave in conformance with the requirements established under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. 701 et seq.)”
What this means may seem confusing, so let us explain. As Cornell Law School notes, you must’ve taken your leave for treatment and not because of substance use. FMLA does not prevent your employer from firing you “if the employer has an established policy, applied in a non-discriminatory manner that has been communicated to all employees, that provides under certain circumstances an employee may be terminated for substance abuse”.
In simple terms, if established and communicated policies prohibit substance use, the employer may still fire the employee. FMLA prevents the employer from taking action against the employee for seeking treatment.
Another piece of legislation that can help you keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL is ADA. You can find the law itself in the DOJ site linked above, but here we may cover its fundamentals.
What exactly is ADA?
ADA is a “Public Law”, first passed by Congress in 1990 and then amended in 2008. ADA enshrines “equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities” into law, in accordance with its title.
To meet this goal, its provisions include an array of protections against discrimination. These extend to even such practices as web design accessibility, if you’re familiar with the term. In this context, it also includes job protections.
Does ADA cover addiction?
That’s because yes, ADA does cover addiction. In fact, it’s one of 3 laws that do so, according to AAC:
“Diagnosable drug and alcohol addictions, or substance use disorders (SUDs), are considered disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.”
Therefore, between these and FMLA, a very clear path to protected rehabilitation exists.
Does ADA always protect employment?
Being very clear with the definitions, however, ADA will not at all times protect employment. ADA specifically protects employment of those who:
- have “successfully completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program and [are] no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs, or [have] otherwise been rehabilitated successfully and [are] no longer engaging in such use”
- are “participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and [are] no longer engaging in such use”
- are “erroneously regarded as engaging in such use, but [are] not engaging in such use”
Put differently, seeking treatment does protect your employment status. Not doing so, or actively using substances at work, do not. So if you’re seeking to keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL, seeking treatment is your first step in that journey.
If you’d like to know more about ADA, the DOJ offers an array of additional resources you may explore.
#1 Before initiating treatment
Having covered the legal aspect, now we can move on to a timeline you can consider. In order, examine the following to see which steps may apply to you.
Explore your addiction type and treatment offerings
First, once you’ve received an addiction diagnosis, you may begin to explore the treatment options you have available. This is essential because your treatment programs and their duration will largely determine later arrangements, including how you use FMLA.
Thankfully, if you’re in Florida, options abound. Treatment providers in the state treat an array of addictions, including:
- Meth addiction. From Inpatient programs to aftercare, there are many offerings for meth rehab Florida providers will present you.
- Prescription drugs addiction. Unfortunately prevalent in the state, Florida prescription drugs addiction treatment options also abound to address this challenge.
- Oxycodone addiction. A specific prescription drug that warrants special treatment, Oxycodone rehab is also a prominent treatment option in the state.
- Adderall addiction. Another notable prescription drug, Adderall too can fuel addictions – and has incentivized programs for Adderall addiction rehab Boynton Beach has to offer.
- Heroin addiction. A powerful illicit substance, heroin fuels severe addictions. Programs for heroin rehab Florida providers have crafted account for this drug’s sheer potency.
- Crack cocaine addiction. Another powerful illicit drug, crack cocaine rehab centers throughout the state cater to the addiction it causes.
Go through insurance coverage
Once you do, and before you can ensure you can keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL, you should also ensure you have proper insurance coverage. This is a very confusing subject for many, which we truly understand. Still, doing so will guarantee you can complete your programs uninterrupted and return to work when you achieve recovery.
To make this section readable, and since there are many popular insurance providers, we’ll format it as a QA section. If you need additional information on a specific insurance provider, you can kindly follow the relevant links below.
A: Tricare caters to US military service members, however, and different plans offer different coverage. That said, yes; Tricare does largely cover drug and alcohol rehab.
A: Aetna plans vary in exact coverage, like all health insurance providers’. Still, yes; Aetna does cover drug rehab, up to 100% of the total cost.
A: Yes, Cigna does cover drug rehab in Florida and beyond. That said, as always, exact coverage depends on the individual plan.
A: Abbreviated as BCBS, this is one of the largest health insurance providers in the country. Like its peers, Blue Cross Blue Shield does cover rehab.
A: Largely, yes; Humana does cover drug rehab. Insurance flexibility may depend on your plan, however, especially if yours entails Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs).
Apply for FMLA with your employer
Finally, to ensure you get to keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL, you will have to make arrangements with your employer.
Present your diagnosis and organize your leave depending on the rehabilitation program you will follow. Provide any additional information or paperwork required; your treatment providers will likely help in this regard. Finally, see to Return-to-Work Agreements (RTWAs) and make sure you stay compliant with them. Once you do, you will be ready to begin your job-protected treatment.
#2 Keeping your job during treatment
Upon starting treatment, your primary concern should become to ensure a successful recovery. This will not just depend on your treatment providers, but also yourself; how you progress through rehab, how you approach employment, and so on.
Here, your main options will be the following.
Make your rehab a success
First, ensure you assist in your own rehabilitation as best you can. This will be vital both as regards making good use of FMLA, as it’s limited to 12 weeks, and reclaiming your place in the workforce once you’re done.
Of course we understand you may only do so much. Rehab can be taxing, especially for severe cases, and success will also hinge on your providers. Still, you can try, as best you can, to:
- Maintain communication with your providers and therapists throughout; they can best help you deal with rehab challenges
- Focus on your recovery; avoid all distractions to the best of your ability
- Practice self-forgiveness; remove mental blocks like guilt that might be preventing you from recovering
Strive to work during rehab, if possible
Next, while not necessary to keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL, it can certainly help to try to return to work soon. This does not mean to return to work too soon, by any means. It’s only to say that you can manage your time in rehab this way.
The reason why this is important is, primarily, time. The typical program for residential drug treatment Florida providers offer will typically last for a month, but may expand accordingly. Between that, detox, and any additional programs your case may require, FMLA time may run short.
Therefore, if your case allows, you can try to return to work once you’ve completed core rehab programs. You can, for example, resume work while in an outpatient treatment program as long as you can manage the time.
Build your recovery capital
Finally, depending on your case and ability, you can strive to build your recovery capital. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the assets you have that can help your recovery. Robert Granfield and William Cloud defined recovery capital as “the volume of internal and external assets to initiate and sustain recovery from severe alcohol or other drug problems.”
Recovery capital comes in 4 types; the personal, the cultural, the familial and social, and the communal. So, you can work with your treatment providers in such ways as:
- Attending couples rehab or family therapy to forge or mend bonds
- Seeking socialization through sober living programs or 12-step meetings
- Exploring holistic therapy options to boost your mental reserves
As you look to keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL, this kind of preparation during rehab will help ensure a successful recovery and an easier return to work.
#3 Keeping your job after completing treatment
The final stage of resuming work comes after a successful rehabilitation. Here, you can reclaim your place in the workplace and ward off relapse to maintain a healthy addiction-free life.
Meet Return-to-Work Agreements
First, ensure you meet any RTWA you’ve signed with your employer beforehand. These establish your employer’s expectations and your obligations, including abstaining from substance use. If you comply with the requirements and terms established there, you will be ready to resume your active employment.
Remain in aftercare as long as needed
Next, you will want to cement your recovery as much as possible. Doing so both guarantees you’ll perform sufficiently at your job, and that you’ll have succeeded in your rehabilitation.
To do so, you may continue with your aftercare program for as long as you feel is necessary. These programs will allow you to reintegrate into everyday life, acquire trigger management tools, and more. As they do, they’ll also keep communication channels with your treatment providers open if you need them.
Work on relapse prevention and self-improvement
Finally, as outlined above, FMLA does not cover active substance use. In addition, relapsing is a highly undesirable outcome, employment aside. Therefore, continuing to work on relapse prevention and self-improvement is vital.
What you can expect post-rehabilitation does differ, but typically includes the aforementioned aftercare programs. For this phase, continue to explore therapeutic activities, seek vocational and other services as needed, and socialize with your peers. An alumni program can work wonders toward self-improvement as well, and it should help you effectively return to the workforce.
Keep your job before, during and after treatment in Boynton Beach, FL
As you can see, remaining employed and having your job protected during rehab is far from difficult. It does depend on a few different factors, but it mostly boils down to knowledge and preparedness. If you know your rights under the law, your insurance coverage, and your treatment options, you don’t need to fear losing your job for seeking treatment. At Bright Futures Treatment we’ve had ample such cases, as our testimonials will show.
If you still have questions on this process, your coverage, or anything else, our teams are at your service. Please, feel free to contact us today so we can thoroughly explore your case and set your mind at ease. Seeking help is the first step forward, and it’s our mission to help you along the rest of the journey.