Will I Lose My Job During Drug Rehab?
By Tiffney Yeager
Many individuals who enter drug rehab
are employed and being gone from work can pose a problem.
If you are in need of detox
or have significant problems maintaining sobriety, it is possible that
you will miss work for days, if not weeks. Many employers are supportive of drug rehab and will
work with you so that you can return to your job
Remember that drug addiction is a
disease, much like high blood pressure or diabetes. If you need hospitalization for diabetes, most
employers would understand. Ideally, the same should hold true for drug addiction. If you find
yourself saying “Not my employer!”, you may want to consider whether your time off for
would be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). According to the Unites Stated
Department of Labor, FMLA “entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid,
job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health
insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.”
Not all jobs are protected by FMLA regulations, but many are, particularly in larger companies and
if you have worked for your employer for some time. Information regarding FMLA can be found on the
internet or by contacting your employer’s human resources department. If you do not believe your
employer will be receptive to your need for drug rehab or if FMLA is not an option, you can request
time off for personal reasons, although you may find that your employer already knows that something
is amiss and the time off may not be granted. Keep in mind that although there are exceptions,
many employers are more aware of your difficulties than you may realize. Even if they do not know
that you are using drugs, they may have noticed poor work performance and frequent absences from work.
When interviewing individuals who are in recovery, many who were employed at the time of treatment
told their employer why they needed time off. Of those that told their employer they were going to
attend drug rehab, a great many kept their job. There are exceptions, particularly if you have a
job that involves handling controlled substances, such as a nurse in a hospital. However,
“rigorous honestly” , as it is known in
12 step recovery programs,
has solved many more problems
than it has created. It is true that there are some jobs that will be lost through honesty, but
one must ask oneself, “Is keeping this job going to help me in my recovery?” If the answer is “no”,
the loss of a job and the opportunity to find a new job may be a blessing in disguise.
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