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How to Tell Your Employer You Need to Go to Rehab

Deciding to seek help for a drug or alcohol addiction is a courageous step toward a healthier life. However, many individuals face concerns about their job when considering rehab. They wonder how to approach their employer and whether they should be honest about their situation. These concerns can sometimes lead to delays in seeking treatment, which is not ideal. In this article, you’ll learn how to discuss your rehab plans with your employer.

Understand Your Company’s Policies

Start by reviewing your company’s handbook, which typically outlines policies regarding sick leave, time off, and paid versus unpaid leave. Remember that rehab isn’t just time “off.” It’s a necessary medical treatment. If your handbook doesn’t contain relevant information, consider reaching out to your HR department. Additionally, familiarize yourself with your company’s policies regarding drug and alcohol use, as they may play a role in your conversation with HR.

Know Your Legal Rights

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you have certain legal rights that protect your job when seeking medical treatment, including rehab for addiction. FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for serious medical issues like addiction. You may also have rights covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which may require your employer to accommodate your leave. Furthermore, remember that you have confidentiality rights, meaning that only HR and your employee assistance program need to know the specifics of your treatment.

Ask HR About Options

Discuss your rehab options with someone in your HR department. In many companies, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are available, offering short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to assist employees facing various issues. EAPs can improve mental health culture in the workplace. You can also inquire about your insurance coverage for rehab, as many health insurance policies cover part or all of the treatment costs.

Start the Conversation Honestly

While it’s your choice to disclose the reason for your medical leave to your boss, honesty is often the best approach. Begin the conversation by explaining your decision to enter a rehab program and how it will positively impact your health and job performance. Most employers will appreciate your proactive approach to addressing your health concerns.

Emphasize the Importance of Treatment 

Addiction is a serious disease, and your workplace must understand its importance. Be prepared to share educational resources with your boss or HR team if they have questions about addiction. While educating your employer is not your responsibility, it can help them grasp the seriousness of the issue.

In conclusion, seeking addiction treatment is a brave and necessary step toward recovery. Your health should always come before work, and you have legal protections to safeguard your job during rehab. Approach your employer confidently, be open and honest, and emphasize the importance of treatment. Remember that you are not alone in this process, and resources are available to support you on your path to recovery.

Cornerstone of Recovery is here to provide effective, affordable drug and alcohol addiction treatment. We can answer questions about navigating rehab with your employer. Get the care you need. 

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