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Do I Have to Quit My Job to Get Addiction Treatment?

by Demarco Moore

December 30, 2022
a man turns in a resignation letter at his job to go to drug and alcohol rehab

Can I Get Fired for Getting Addiction Treatment?

Do you have to quit your job in order to get addiction treatment? Could you get fired for goin to rehab?
If you’re considering drug or alcohol rehab, you might be worried about your job security while you’re away completing an inpatient treatment program. It’s a legitimate concern for many Americans. According to data from the
National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 9% of all employed adults (about 13.6 million workers) have current alcohol or illicit drug use disorder. Fear of losing a job can be a barrier to getting the addiction treatment you need. Let’s take a look at the facts and laws about getting substance use care.

Concerns about getting fired for going to drug rehab

Many people delay addiction treatment because they either can’t afford to take off work or are worried about losing their job. Most addiction treatment centers like Landmark Recovery require patients to stay a minimum of 28 days at a remote facility to ensure a successful, sustained recovery. Therefore, it’s easy to understand why someone might feel anxious about leaving their job for an extended period of time.

However, if you want to get help and overcome your addiction, it’s important to know that there are federal laws and regulations in place to protect you against termination of employment or demotion.  You not only have legal protections that will help you stay employed, but you have plenty of options to consider that might also help you continue to get paid while you restore your health.

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Ask anybody in long-term recovery, and they’ll tell you that you won’t have time for drugs or alcohol once you develop long-term goals and hopes for the future. So, let’s talk about your options for those who wish to press pause on their jobs to go to drug or alcohol rehab.

Know and understand your legal rights

People recovering from addiction have legal protection from termination or employment discrimination under the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Here’s a breakdown of the legal protections included in the ADA.

American Disabilities Act

Under the ADA, employers can’t fire people who seek out addiction care if they’re enrolled in a treatment program.

Titles I and IV protect qualified individuals with disabilities from employment discrimination. Section 104 of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that any person participating in or who has successfully completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program like inpatient rehab is considered a “qualified individual with a disability” with legal protections against employment discrimination.

Therefore, as long as you aren’t actively using illegal drugs or alcohol, you won’t have to quit your job, nor will you lose it if you go to rehab. With that peace of mind, let’s talk about four realistic ways you can plan to take time off work to go to drug and alcohol rehab.

1. Take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave

If your employer offers FMLA, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for drug and alcohol rehab. However, to qualify, you must meet certain requirements, including:

  • Work for a covered employer (click here for criteria)
  • Have worked for your employer for at least 12 months (doesn’t have to be consecutive)
  • Worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months
  • Work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles

An added bonus to FMLA leave is that it won’t affect your health insurance coverage. Ask your employer for FMLA details, or call 888-448-0302 to speak to a recovery specialist at Landmark Recovery.

2. Use your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to help people battling addiction, mental health or family issues. If you work for a company that provides EAPs, ask to speak to a representative who could refer you to addiction treatment or mental health providers like Landmark Recovery.

3. Use your paid time off (PTO)

It might not sound ideal to use up some of your PTO, especially if you were planning a vacation. However, consider what you’ll gain by giving up some if not all of your PTO for the year. A new and restored body, mind and hopefulness.

4. Consider an outpatient rehab program

Are you out of PTO, can’t afford to take unpaid time off and don’t have an EAP option at your job? An intensive outpatient program could be the best option for you, especially if you’ve already completed medical detox or inpatient rehab. Outpatient programs provide flexibility for patients who can handle day-to-day home life. 

The main advantage of outpatient rehab is that you get to return home every night and, in most cases, continue working. Keep in mind that you may have to alter your schedule, but most employees will work with you. It’s often much cheaper for employees to let their workers get the help they need than to hire someone else.  Call 888-448-0302 to speak to a recovery specialist at Landmark Recovery if you have questions about your work schedule and outpatient rehab.

Don’t let your job stop you from getting help

As you can see, there are enough options to help you make the best decision for your long-term recovery. Thanks to legal protections and flexible drug and alcohol rehab centers like Landmark Recovery, you can seek addiction treatment and keep your job. After nearly a month of flushing your system and learning healthy coping skills, you’ll be in a position to live a happier, healthier life.

Call 888-448-0302 to speak to a dedicated member of our admissions team 24/7, or visit our locations page to find a treatment center near you.

About the Author

Demarco Moore

Demarco Moore

Demarco is a Middle Tennessee State University graduate. He focuses on addiction recovery-focused content writing and search engine optimization (SEO) at Landmark Recovery.

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