How to Protect Your Job in Rehab
Using FMLA to Go to IOP Treatment

When it comes to seeking addiction treatment, the obvious choice is not always easy to make. Even if you know seeking professional help is the best route to take, you might be hesitant to make the first move for a variety of reasons. Maybe you have prior obligations you are concerned about stepping away from for an extended period of time. Maybe you are financially responsible for yourself and other people, and you are afraid of losing your job if you commit to a traditional inpatient treatment program. The good news is, there are a variety of available addiction treatment options to choose from.

At Guardian IOP we offer a flexible intensive outpatient treatment program, geared towards delivering effective therapeutic care while providing clients with a greater level of personal freedom. If you are currently employed and you are concerned about reducing your hours or the potential of being let go because of your current circumstances, there is a law in place to help protect your employment while you seek the professional care you need. The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles employees to take protected medical leave with a continuation of group health insurance coverage. Our IOP program is often covered by FMLA and our clients are able to either take a leave of absence or continue working with reduced hours without any threat to their current occupation. To learn more about using FMLA for outpatient treatment, contact us today.

What is FMLA?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, FMLA covers employees who are currently working for an eligible employer. What makes an employer eligible? The employer must:

  • Be a public agency, including local, state and federal government agencies, regardless of the amount of employees.
  • Have at least 50 current employees within a 75 mile radius.
  • Be a public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the amount of employees.

You are eligible for FMLA leave if your current employer meets the above-listed criteria and if:

  • You have worked for your current employer for 12 months or longer.
  • During the 12 month period preceding your FMLA leave you worked for at least 1,250 hours in total.
  • You are caring for a dependent who is struggling with a serious health issue, or,
  • You have been struggling with a serious health issue which renders you incapable of completing the vital functions of your job.

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FMLA also covers childbirth and military members on covered active duty. Does FMLA cover behavioral therapy services like medical detox, inpatient rehab and outpatient treatment? In short, yes. The U.S. Department of Labor states:

FMLA leave may only be taken for substance abuse treatment provided by a healthcare provider or by a provider of health care services on referral by a health care provider. Absence because of the employee’s use of the substance, rather than for treatment, does not qualify for FMLA leave. The employer may not take action against the employee because the employee has exercised his or her right to take FMLA leave for substance abuse treatment. However, if the employer has an established policy, applied in a non-discriminatory manner, that has been communicated to all employees, and that provides under certain circumstances an employee may be terminated for substance abuse, then pursuant to that policy the employee may be terminated regardless of whether he or she is presently taking FMLA leave.”

Basically, this means while you are not required to tell your employer about the reasoning behind your leave, if you are found intoxicated on the job you are at risk of termination, especially if you signed a contract when you were hired agreeing to avoid using mood and mind altering substances in the workplace. At Guardian IOP we are available to walk you through the entire process of taking an FMLA-protected leave of absence from start to finish. Contact us today to learn more.

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How to Speak to Your Employer

FMLA protects your confidentiality, meaning you are not required to tell your employer why you are taking a leave of absence. However, if you have a good relationship with your employer and if you trust they will be understanding of your situation, you might want to sit down with them and have an open conversation.

Using FMLA for outpatient rehab

Of course, it is a good idea to skip over the finer details of your struggles with addiction; use your discretion. You might opt to say something like, “I just wanted to let you know I really enjoy working here, and my main priority right now is ensuring I’m at the top of my game. I want to be the best employee I can be, and in order to do so I need to take a little time off and focus on my mental health. I appreciate you being flexible with me.”

Most outpatient treatment programs, like the program offered by Guardian IOP, meet 3-5 days a week for several hours per day. We understand some people who are in need of addiction treatment services also have personal obligations they cannot easily step away from. IOP is often an ideal choice in these circumstances, seeing as this level of care provides much more flexibility and personal freedom than traditional inpatient treatment. If you are wondering which level of care is the best choice for you or a loved one, contact us today.

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The Addiction Services We Provide

At Guardian IOP we offer a range of addiction services geared towards helping people of all ages and personal backgrounds overcome addiction and any co-occurring disorders.

The Services We Offer Are:

  • Evidence-Based Therapies – We offer a range of evidence-based therapeutic modalities, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, trauma therapy and motivational interviewing. Clients have access to individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy sessions.
  • Relapse Prevention Training – One of the most fundamental parts of every effective IOP program is the incorporation of relapse prevention training. Clients learn to identify and work through their personal relapse triggers and warning signs.
  • Medication Assisted Treatment Options – MAT is an important part of the addiction recovery process for some people, especially those who have been struggling with a moderate or severe opioid abuse disorder. We offer Vivitrol at all our locations and Suboxone Maintenance at our New Jersey locations to those who have had a difficult time staying sober or experience intense opioid cravings.
  • Life Skills Training – Some of our clients (even those who utilized FMLA to take a leave of absence from their current occupation) find they prefer to switch careers once they complete IOP. We offer a range of life skills training services including vocational training, educational placement services and financial assistance.
  • Holistic Therapies – In addition to evidence-based therapies like CBT and DBT, we offer a range of holistic therapies including yoga therapy, acupuncture and mindfulness meditation workshops.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options – Addiction and mental health concerns often go hand-in-hand. At Guardian IOP we offer dual diagnosis treatment services for clients who have been struggling with underlying mental illnesses like depression or anxiety.

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    If you are interested in learning more about using FMLA for outpatient treatment or if you are interested in learning more about our comprehensive recovery program, contact us today. Our experienced Treatment Advisors are standing by to answer any questions you have and to help guide you through the process of taking protected leave under FMLA or any other applicable laws. We know how difficult it can be to reach out for help, especially when you’re concerned about taking a break from your profession and potentially dealing with the consequences of doing so. Rest assured, there are many options to take advantage of. Contact us today and one of our Treatment Advisors will help you develop a viable plan of action which makes the most sense for your current situation.

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