The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, is a federal law of the United States of America that entails the provision of job protection to employees from their employers and unpaid leave for qualified and proven medical and family reasons. The qualified medical and family reasons could include personal and family illness, drug addiction, family military leave, adoption, pregnancy, foster care placement among others. The FMLA is administered and executed by the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor. The FMLA aims to balance the demands of the workplace with the unavoidable needs of the family and your health. The FMLA act allows eligible employees of an organization to be legally permitted to take a maximum unpaid leave of 12 weeks during any time of the year to attend to family and health issues surrounding his or her life. In order for the employee to be fully eligible for the FMLA leave, he or she must have been attending working for at least a year and worked for at least 1,250 hours during that period. The employee must also be working in an organization that employs fifty or more employees within 75 miles. The FMLA act covers both the private and public sector employees. In addition, the act excludes the following employees: elected government officials and their personal staff members.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the US department of Health and Human Services claims that nearly 80% percent of drug and alcohol abusers are employed. Drug and alcohol abuse affects the user’s work performance causing him to neglect the responsibilities of his work. Treatment is therefore the best course of action.
It is important to know and clearly understand the level of your addiction and how severely it affects your work performance. To help in answering this question, the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, Inc., offers a self-test drug examination. Knowledge of your health status and acceptance is the first step to recovery. After this, clearly read the laws regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that prohibits the discrimination of disabled people; including addicts. Another law is the FMLA that allows you to take an unpaid leave for rehab.
During this period, discuss with your employer the current situation you are going through. If you want, you can strategize on taking a particular leave of absence or partake in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EPA is a program that helps employees deal with their drug and alcohol addiction. The program also offers counseling and referral to rehabilitation facilities if the addiction level is severe. You should choose the rehabilitation program that will best maintain your current job while at the same time not exceeding the stipulated 12 weeks. some of these programs include; partial hospitalization, residential treatment, intensive outpatient counseling, sober living or merely just a brief intervention. The programs are determined by the willingness to sacrifice your personal time and the severity of your addiction. If in need of help, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) clearly stipulates the principles of effective addiction treatment. you can get tips on treatment through online platforms and support groups if you need a social basis for therehabilitative process.
After the rehabilitation process, follow SAMHSA’s On-The-Job rights for employees. These employees should be given proper working hour adjustments to attend to their treatment and still meet the organization’s goal for productivity. In addition, these employees should be protected from discrimination from their employers and manage their job stresses by tracking the causing factors and avoiding them, developing healthy processes and taking time to recharge. Other ways of managing stress are explored in the American Psychological Association. Eventually, they should meet all the Return-To-Work Agreements (RTWA) for an employee who has completed the mandated drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. After treatment, they should ensure that their performance at work is progressively improved over time by surrounding themselves with a strong supportive environment of friends and systems that fit their needs and ideologies. This is important in aftercare.
During the process of recovery as stipulated by the FMLA act, it’s important to figure out what extent the insurance company will cover. Different health insurance companies offer different policy coverage. However 10 essential health benefits must be covered as offered by Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace(ACAHIM). Among the ten being substance abuse services. It’s important that the coverage offered is checked when it comes to treatment. Nonetheless, the addict in need of rehabilitation must prove medical necessity in order to get the health insurance. If at all insurance will not cover the employee, he or she should seek for other inexpensive programs like mutual support groups, faith-based alcoholism groups or online recovery support.
FMLA allows addicts to rebuild their lives and get help by;
(a) It protects them against discrimination
(b) It offers them a leave of absence to seek treatment or rehabilitation
(c) Safeguards the jobs and careers
(d) It protects your health from possible alcohol-related diseases
(e) Have the ability to retain health insurance
(f) Improves the morale of other employees when faced with similar issues
(g) It reduces stigmatization in the work place from drug and alcohol abuse
The FMLA act helps addicts all over America to safeguard their jobs while seeking treatment. If drug and alcohol addicts were to turn a blind eye on the benefits of the FMLA, they would face the following challenges; they may stand a risk of losing their careers, they may develop health related diseases from abusing alcohol and drugs, they would be discriminated in the open leading to stigmatization among others. Alcoholism should never be setback to anyone’s life and should be a thing that should be managed properly.
The benefits of FMLA are expansive and its pros are beneficial to both organizations and individuals in improving the work output and solving personal issues respectively. In reality, a clear, healthy mind and body improves the productivity of an individual.