How Can You Keep Your Job & Get Treatment? Approaching Your Employer

How Can You Keep Your Job & Get Treatment? Approaching Your Employer

Drug and alcohol use disorders require millions of Americans to seek treatment every year. Even so, the number of people who attend rehab is far lower than the number of people who need help. Sadly, some people continue working while struggling with addiction. This means that they may also come to work while under the influence. 

One of the main reasons why people continue working while dealing with addiction is because they’re afraid of losing their job. However, what some people don’t realize is that there are protections in place that allow them to seek professional drug and alcohol rehab in Phoenix without losing employment.

If you are currently working and struggling with substance abuse, this article will give you all the information you need to change your life. There are many resources available to help, and some exist within your company’s own benefits. 

Start with Your HR Department 

Most workers have legal protections that guarantee their right to seek treatment without fear of termination or discrimination. This means that if you ask for time off to address a substance abuse problem, your employer must approve this request. Additionally, when you return from treatment, your employer must have you back with no negative consequences. If they don’t, they’re breaking the law. 

Nevertheless, taking time off work to attend rehab is not an easy decision. That’s why we recommend starting with your HR department. It will probably be easier to speak with them over your boss, and you can ensure that you understand all of your rights, responsibilities and resources. 

Here are some things your HR team should discuss with you: 

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, including substance abuse and mental health disorders. Your employer can hire a replacement for you while you’re away, but some position will be available when you return. 
  • The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees with special needs, including drug and alcohol treatment. 
  • An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program designed to help employees resolve personal problems. Talk to your HR team about whether or not your company offers this and the services included. 

Keep in mind that while you have protections if you seek substance abuse treatment in Phoenix, they do not apply if you come to work drunk or high. You can still be fired or disciplined for poor performance or conduct-related reasons. It’s best to be honest and seek treatment before your addiction interferes with your job. 

What if I’m Too Busy to Go to Rehab? 

People who are working and dealing with addiction often have other responsibilities to care for as well. If this is the boat you’re in, you’re probably thinking that you don’t have time to do all of this and go to drug rehab in Phoenix. But keep in mind that your addiction is probably interfering with your work more than you think. 

It’s also important to know that there are many options for treatment. An inpatient program is not the only one. Continuum Recovery Center is an outpatient drug rehab in Phoenix that offers partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and standard outpatient services. All programs are flexible and accommodating, allowing you to maintain contact with your work. 

As you grow stronger in your recovery, you can move to a lower level of care and start working part-time. Many of our clients continue to meet with us for counseling while working their jobs. 

But What About My Privacy? I Don’t Want People Knowing I’m in Rehab. 

Privacy is a main consideration for professionals, and rightfully so. Even though addiction is nothing to be embarrassed about, there is still a stigma. Not to mention, seeking outpatient treatment in Phoenix is your business and you don’t need to tell anyone about it until you are ready. Thankfully, your privacy is protected by law. Nobody other than your HR rep needs to know the details behind why you’re taking a leave of absence. 

woman taking time off work

How Do I Get Time Off for Outpatient Rehab in Phoenix

Once you have made the decision to go to treatment, talk to your HR department and request medical leave as soon as possible. Depending on how your company is structured, this can be arranged through HR or through your insurer. Typically, you’ll need a letter from your doctor stating that you need time off for medical purposes. It’s possible that you may need a few other documents, but no details about your addiction need to be released. 

As difficult as this is, honesty is always the best policy. This is why we encourage people in your position to know what protections are in place. Sometimes employers do mistreat employees who are in treatment, but this is illegal. People who have HIV/AIDS, mental illness or a criminal background have protections, so why wouldn’t someone in need of substance abuse treatment have the same? 

Addiction is an illness that requires professional intervention. The good news is that approaching an employer about substance abuse is much easier today than it was years ago. Things are getting better, and hopefully you will find that your boss is understanding and wants to see you get the help you deserve. 

Here are a few tips for having this conversation: 

  • Do your research and learn about your company’s policies. You can read through your employee paperwork, look online for details or speak with an HR representative. 
  • Talk with your boss early on, before things get out of control.
  • Avoid telling your coworkers before your boss, as you don’t want it getting back to them before you’ve had a discussion. 
  • Know your rights. This will make it easier to ask for the help and resources you need. 
  • Have a treatment plan lined up so that you can tell your boss what your plans are.

Continuum Recovery Center is a Top Choice for Working Professionals 

Continuum Recovery Center in Phoenix is a top choice for professionals and other working individuals. Our outpatient programs are flexible, affordable and convenient and allow you to maintain some contact with work. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist in your recovery.