One of the most common concerns people have when deciding if they’re going to get treatment is whether or not they’ll be able to continue working while they attend rehab. Fortunately, some programs can be completed while you continue to work while in treatment. There are also laws in place that protect those that take time off of work to attend a treatment program.
Can You Work While in Rehab?
Understandably, many people are hesitant to sign up for treatment because they don’t want to risk losing their employment. A lot of individuals that seek treatment for an addiction or mental health have homes and families that they’re responsible for, so being without an income for the weeks or months they need to focus on their recovery could cause serious problems for their loved ones. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways that someone can continue to work during treatment.
The good news is, that employers cannot legally fire an employee just for attending rehab. Further, any discrimination about attending rehab from an employer against an employee that takes a medical leave to attend treatment for their mental health or substance use diagnosis is illegal. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) both provide protections against discrimination to those that are battling addiction or serious mental health issues.
The ADA secures your job while also ensuring your employer will not terminate you due to receiving treatment and missing work due to this reason. If your employer goes against this and still fires you, you can sue your employer for discrimination. FMLA provides employees who meet certain qualifications to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for several different medical reasons.
Your Right to Discretion
There are also laws that help protect your right to privacy in seeking treatment. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a law that requires patient information not to be disclosed unless the patient provides consent to do so. You may feel more comfortable knowing that when you take off work for medical purposes and seek treatment, your employer doesn’t have to know the specifics.
Alternative Treatment Options
Attending an inpatient rehab program isn’t the right fit for everyone. Taking time away may not be feasible if you have a career, kids, or other commitments. If you don’t have a severe mental illness or long-standing addiction, there are several alternatives to residential treatments, including:
- An Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- A Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
- One-on-one meetings with a mental health therapist or substance abuse counselor
- Support groups and meetings
There are also some residential treatment programs that are able to customize a patient’s schedules to meet their work needs and others that allow cell phone use to help with ongoing commitments. These programs may be a great alternative then a conventional residential treatment setting.
Notifying Your Employers About Treatment
Whether or not rehab is going to impact your work hours or not, it is up to you if you want to communicate with your employer about your participation in a treatment program and disclose information about your mental health or substance abuse treatment. However, there are times you may want to disclose some information. The time you’re attending treatment may not interfere with your work schedule, but the possibility of withdrawal and other uncomfortable symptoms of detox or starting new medications could have you feeling under the weather and unable to work.
While you do have protection over your medical conditions and employers can’t legally fire you over your addiction or mental health treatment, you can inform them of what’s going on if you have concerns your job performance has been affected. Even though your job does have legal protections, it may be important to be transparent with your employers so you aren’t let go due to poor performance.
Returning to Work After Completing Rehab
There are a lot of ways you can still work while getting treatment for an addiction and mental health issues, but sometimes you need to take time off in order to truly focus on getting better. If that’s the case, you can utilize FMLA time and return to work once you’ve finished your treatment. Fir those seeking addiction treatment, some employers will require a return to work agreement, which could include the employee committing to some of the following:
- Drug screening
- Abstaining from drugs and alcohol
- Accountability for work issues that are not caused by their substance abuse
Help is Available
If you’re ready to get help recovering from your addiction or healing from trauma or a mental health disorder, we are here for you. At Capo Canyon, our main goal is to help individuals find true healing and be able to move forward with their lives in a positive way. Contact us today to start the next chapter of your life.