Understanding Medical Leave Act vs. Short-Term Disability 

For those of us struggling with addiction and all of the medical issues therein, including needing time for detox and recovery treatment programs, we have certain options when it comes to taking time off from work. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Short-Term Disability benefits are similar in that they offer us flexibility with our jobs when we need to take time off to handle medical issues. There are some key differences between the two, however, and understanding more about them can help us to navigate our jobs while we’re in recovery.

 The FMLA is a federal act that applies to any employer in the country with 50 employees or more, as well as public agencies and private schools with any number of employees working for them. Short-Term Disability benefits are optional, and employers can choose whether or not to offer them. Therefore, depending on where we work, we may or may not be entitled to benefits under either or both of their terms. The FMLA covers our time off when we need to tend to either our own medical condition or a family member’s, while Short-Term Disability can be applied only if it is our condition in question. The FMLA offers a minimum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave, while disability benefits provide financial compensation for the time we’re absent from work. With the FMLA, we’re guaranteed our job when we return, and if our job is no longer available, we’re guaranteed a similar job with the same benefits, wages, and responsibilities. Disability benefits, on the other hand, don’t guarantee that we’ll be able to retain our position or a similar one while we’re gone.

As we know, addiction is a serious medical issue and can bring along with it a host of other medical complications, including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental health issues. With these important benefits, we’re given some much needed time and freedom to be able to care for ourselves without worrying about how we’ll hold onto our jobs or make ends meet. This helps us to open up more about our struggles with addiction rather than suppressing them in order to keep our jobs. It helps us to seek out support rather than keeping our addictions a secret. Our health has to be our priority, and if we’re worried about our financial security, we’re automatically detracting from our ability to focus on our recovery. These benefits help to alleviate some of those worries.

The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with both addiction and recovery, and all of the challenges that come with them. We’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.