According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, most of the people who struggle with addiction in the United States are employed. They work jobs, have bills to pay and families to support and a chronic disease that makes everything much harder. Nonetheless, individuals in this situation often feel trapped, and unable to seek help because they think they can’t take time off for substance abuse issues.
Thankfully, there are federal laws in place that protect individuals seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction. Read on to find out exactly how to go to rehab without losing your job.
Will My Boss Fire Me If I Take Time Off for Addiction Treatment?
Luckily, you don’t need to worry too much about how to go to rehab and keep your job. The most challenging aspect of taking a leave of absence may be speaking to Human Resources or your boss about taking time off to attend a substance use disorder treatment program. While there’s undeniably a stigma attached to addiction, rest assured that it’s unfounded and unfair.
In many cases, a modern, professional employer won’t display any negative reaction and will show the appropriate level of support. Not only does drug and alcohol abuse negatively affect job performance, but it also contributes to an unhealthy team environment and stifles your chances of career progression.
There are laws in place that protect you in case you need to attend a treatment center to help with alcohol or drug abuse. Addiction is a health care issue, not a moral problem, and you wouldn’t think twice about getting care for a physical problem. As such, you shouldn’t stress yourself over applying for leave using the following reasons.
Legal Protection for People With Substance Abuse Problems
There are two laws that can help employees get peace of mind when accessing unpaid leave for detox and rehab services.
The Americans With Disabilities Act
The ADA considers addiction to be a serious health condition that’s equal to a disability within the context of seeking treatment. This means people in recovery are protected against discrimination, and their employers can’t fire them as a result of seeking help at a treatment facility. If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against as a result of substance abuse treatment, you can file a claim against your employer.
Family and Medical Leave Act
FMLA leave is 12 working weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period granted to qualifying individuals for personal or medical reasons. If you need to seek treatment for drug or alcohol use, your employer is bound by law to keep the information confidential.
Employee Assistance Programs
Some employers offer EAPs, which provide reasonable accommodations to individuals struggling with substance abuse or mental health in-house. Helping employees with substance abuse problems as opposed to firing them is more practical for the employer in the long run.
Inpatient or Outpatient Drug Rehab?
Outpatient rehab programs are often more accessible than inpatient rehab, with many centers providing evening and weekend classes to fit around your schedule. However, with an intensive outpatient program or day treatment/ partial hospitalization, you may still need to take some time off from work. Whichever type of program you opt for, you’re covered under the FMLA and ADA.
Work Performance and Alcohol and Drug Addiction
If you’re still worried about psyching yourself up to ask for leave to get help for alcohol or drug use, bear in mind that it benefits your employer as much as it does you. Even if you’re currently able to perform at a decent level, the nature of addiction as a progressive disease means your productivity would eventually suffer.
Workers who take drugs are also at a much higher risk of having an accident in the workplace, which can be extremely damaging and expensive for a business. By seeking the help you need, you’re doing your part to make the workplace a safer, healthier environment.
How to Speak to Your Employer About Attending a Rehab Center
Drugs and alcohol are psychoactive, which means they change the way your brain functions at a fundamental level. Many people with substance use disorders report struggling to focus, oversleeping, forgetting to pay attention to detail and finding it difficult to stick to a routine. These behaviors have an impact on the workplace, and you should make it clear to your boss that your intention is to protect your job and environment by seeking medical attention.
Take the following steps to ensure a smooth transition into the recovery process with regard to work:
- Be honest and up-front with your employer so you can get the maximum amount of help available from a legal standpoint.
- Speak to your coworkers so they know you’re taking time off, but you’re under no obligation to tell them why.
- Make sure you’re diligent about completing any projects you’re responsible for and organizing the appropriate cover for while you’re away.
One of the biggest contributing factors to addiction is mental stress, so try not to be too hard on yourself. The fact you’ve decided to seek help at rehab is an exceptional achievement, and you should celebrate it rather than feel ashamed to ask for time off to get the help you deserve.
Your boss should be supportive and understanding of your situation, particularly if you take the time to explain your situation and assure them you’ll do everything within your power to maintain your performance at work.
Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs in The Outer Banks of North Carolina
Starting a treatment plan is a life-changing event and well worth taking a little time off from work. Changing Tides is a supportive and loving rehab center where you can get the care and guidance necessary to fight addiction and win. Call us at 252-715-3905 or contact us to get help now.