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Will I Lose My Job Attending Rehab?

There are many barriers that people face before going to rehab. One of the most common concerns is whether or not a person will lose their job while attending rehab. Fortunately, laws are in place to protect people in recovery from fear of termination while getting treatment.

Enlightened Solutions understands that drug and alcohol rehab needs to be flexible to fit into a person’s life. For some, that means finding a program that allows a person to get treatment without causing major disruptions in their work life. That is why we offer varying types of rehab that fit our clients’ busy lives.

Can I Work During Rehab?

Whether or not a client works during rehab depends upon the level of care that they need. For instance, a person undergoing drug detox followed by residential treatment would not be able to leave an inpatient facility to attend work. However, with remote options, some clients can work out a limited work schedule while attending inpatient rehab. Of course, this also depends on the policies of the treatment center.

Many rehab programs are strict about limiting contact with work because this can distract clients from focusing on getting better themselves. But, on an outpatient level of care, a client is free to work when they are not in their program. Outpatient rehab is more flexible, as a client does not reside within the treatment facility. Depending upon how intensive their program is, they might have time to work part or even full-time hours.

Are There Laws to Protect Me from Getting Fired?

There are laws in place that can protect a client from getting fired to attend a rehab program. However, if drug or alcohol use affects a person’s job performance, they might be terminated. Thus, laws protect clients who worry they will lose their job by attending rehab. 

But, these laws do not protect people who actively use drugs or alcohol on the job. A person might be fired when addiction is an underlying factor in poor performance, frequent call-outs, or conflicts with others. 

Specifically, 2 laws protect employees from discrimination for taking leave due to medical reasons, which include drug and alcohol rehab. These laws are the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA protects employees from termination when they need to take time off for medical reasons. These protections help people take time off for themselves as well as to care for family members, like a spouse, child, or parent. For substance use treatment, a person might use FMLA leave for inpatient rehab, detox, or outpatient rehab services that occur during work hours.

The FMLA allows employees up to 12 weeks of absence within a 12-month period. Essentially, a person’s position will be waiting for them upon their return from addiction treatment. 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA protects employees from discrimination based on having a substance use disorder (SUD). While the ADA does not protect those currently using drugs or alcohol, the ADA protects employees who have a history of addiction and are currently in recovery. Therefore, the ADA prevents employers from withholding promotions based on past behaviors.

The ADA prohibits behaviors, such as refusing to hire someone in recovery from SUD. Additionally, the ADA also protects employees from losing their job for attending rehab, either currently or in the past. 

Which Rehab Type is the Best for Me?

The best type of rehab program is the program that a client needs to engage in recovery. Some might need inpatient detox services to get sober safely. Still, others could need less restrictive services, such as intensive outpatient programs—especially if they have been in recovery long term.

The following are the types of rehab offered at Enlightened Solutions:

  • Inpatient detox and residential
    • Live within the treatment facility
    • Detox lasts about 1 to 2 weeks, while residential programs can be a month or longer
    • Keeps clients safe from triggers and temptations to use drugs or alcohol
  • Partial care program
    • Also called a partial hospitalization program (PHP)
    • Attend the program for several hours per day, arriving in the morning and leaving in the afternoon
    • Clients can reside at home or at a sober living program
  • Intensive outpatient program
    • Clients live either at home or at a sober living home
    • Flexible schedule with the program only lasting a few hours per week
    • Comprehensive programs that address physical and mental well-being, as well as, social and relationship issues

Ideally, clients should attend the type of program that best suits their needs for treatment. For clients who need to work while in rehab, an outpatient program would offer the most flexibility. 

What Happens When Going Back to Work?

After returning to work following rehab, clients can discuss as much about their experiences as they wish with their co-workers. In other words, attending rehab and having a medical condition—like a substance use disorder—is a private matter. Some clients share with their co-workers and feel supported. Alternatively, others worry about being treated differently afterward.

Regardless, the laws protect employees in recovery from discrimination and termination as long as substance abuse does not interfere with a person’s ability to perform their job. Generally, being open and honest with an employer—and HR representatives—about needing to attend rehab could prevent an employee from continuing further down the path of addiction.

Find Help for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Today

Many people fear that they will lose their job for attending rehab. However, laws like the FMLA and the ADA protect employees from discrimination when they are in recovery. Enlightened Solutions offers flexible programming to meet the needs of our clients, even those who need to continue working during treatment. We have locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to help our clients achieve recovery.

Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options.

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