Alcohol addiction is a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 17 million adults suffer from alcohol addiction. This means that about one in every 12 adults has an alcohol addiction. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, you may be wondering if you are eligible for FMLA coverage. In this article, we will answer seven common questions about alcohol addiction and FMLA coverage.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for family and medical reasons. This can include the birth or adoption of a child, caring for an ill family member, or recovering from one’s own illness. The FMLA also covers workers who need to take time off to deal with their own alcohol addiction.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, alcohol addiction is a diagnosable disease. An individual who suffers from alcoholism will have an uncontrollable urge to drink, even if they know it’s hurting themselves and others around them. They may also be unable to stop drinking once they start or experience withdrawal symptoms when not drinking for long periods of time. People with alcohol addictions are at risk of having their careers and relationships negatively impacted by their problem and losing control over other aspects of life because of it. Alcoholism can cause serious health problems such as liver damage (cirrhosis), high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, or cancer (lungs). It can also lead to death due to accidents or drinking-related health problems.
Can I Take FMLA Leave For Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for qualifying reasons. One of the qualifying reasons is severe illness or injury. Addiction qualifies as a severe illness under FMLA regulations. This means that an employee who is addicted to alcohol can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for treatment. However, the leave must be approved by the employer, and it may be limited to those employees who have worked for the company for at least one year.
What Are Some Common Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction?
Common symptoms of alcoholism include but are not limited to: drinking more than intended on a regular basis; needing to drink to function normally at work or socially with friends and family members; feeling guilty about drinking too much alcohol yet still continuing despite these feelings of guilt; experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shaking hands when trying not to drink alcohol for long periods of time (days-weeks).
Does My Employer Have The Right To Ask If I’ve Been Treated for Alcoholism?
Your employer does have the right. However, it is vital that you talk with your supervisor about what this means before disclosing any information regarding treatment. For example, suppose you are currently receiving treatment from an addiction specialist. In that case, they may be able to help provide insight into how best to handle situations like these where employers want employees’ personal medical records.
Can I Take FMLA Leave To Care for Someone With Alcohol Addiction?
Yes, you can. Suppose you are the primary caregiver of a family member who is addicted to alcohol and meets the definition of an eligible employee under FMLA. In that case, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to provide care for them. This includes taking your loved ones to doctor appointments, helping them get treatment, or providing emotional support.
Will Taking FMLA Leave Impact My Job Security?
No, it will not. Taking FMLA leave will not negatively impact your job security or employment status. In fact, many employers see taking FMLA leave as a sign of commitment and dedication to one’s work since it shows that you are taking the time off to address a serious personal health issue.
Can I Take FMLA Leave to Care for My Pet if I Am Addicted to Alcohol?
No, you cannot. The Family and Medical Leave Act does not cover caring for animals. Only qualifying reasons related to human beings are covered under FMLA regulations. However, there may be other types of leave that could be available to you if you need to take time away from work to care for your pet due to your alcoholism. Check with your employer’s HR department or benefits administrator for more information on this topic.
If you have any other questions about alcohol addiction and FMLA coverage, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help!