Taking a Leave of Absence for Rehab

leave of absence for rehab

Substance addiction is a surprisingly common condition. Employers are very familiar with team members that sometimes need to leave work for a while to receive some help. Taking a leave of absence for rehab should not put your job in jeopardy. There are laws in place to protect an employee’s right to treatment, without the risk of losing their job.

Signs You May Need a Rehab Program

It may have come as a surprise that you ended up with a substance use disorder. The warning signs of addiction often creep in gradually, but little by little the signs of a substance problem emerge.

There are some common signs that point to a substance problem. These include:

  • Tries to stop or cut down but cannot.
  • Declining job performance.
  • Neglecting work and family obligations.
  • Excessive absenteeism.
  • Lying to others about your substance use.
  • Missing important meetings or project deadlines.
  • Neglecting appearance and hygiene.
  • Mood swings.
  • Doctor shopping for more refills
  • Buying drugs from illicit sources.
  • Rapid weight gain or loss.
  • Withdrawing or isolating.
  • Avoiding social events.
  • Physical signs of addiction.
  • Keep using the substance despite the adverse effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms.

Staging the substance use disorder from mild to severe is based on the number of these signs that are present.

Common Concerns About Taking a Leave of Absence for Rehab

When you start to see the signs of a substance use disorder, it is time to consider going in for treatment. However, even seeing the writing on the wall can still cause a lot of stress. Some of the common concerns about taking a leave of absence for rehab include:

  1. Fear of adverse impact on career. There may be the worry that taking time off to go to rehab will cause a setback in your career.
  2. Impact on coworkers. Taking a lengthy leave of absence may present a challenge for your coworkers. They may have to cover your duties or train a replacement.
  3. Fear of stigma. Some may worry about their professional reputation being damaged because they needed treatment for a substance use disorder.
  4. Loss of income. Not all leave of absence are paid time off. When there is only partial compensation it can cause hardship.

How to Take a Leave of Absence for Rehab

When should you sit down with your boss to request a leave of absence? Is there a strategy that ensures this process goes as smoothly as it possibly can? Let’s consider how to inform your boss about your need for treatment while causing the least damage to your career.

Most Human Resources (H.R.) departments have a well-defined process for dealing with employee issues like drug abuse and addiction. This is a well-trodden path that clears the way for the employee to obtain needed treatment.

Some companies have a team dedicated to assisting employees with substance use issues to get treatment. The H.R. office must remain discreet and honor the employee’s wishes regarding whether the immediate manager is told. Many times, the employee will opt to confide in their manager about their need for treatment.

Laws that Protect Your Job While in Rehab

Worries about how you’ll be judged if it’s discovered you’ve enrolled in rehab are usually unwarranted. There are laws in place to ensure that an employee is not fired because they are receiving addiction treatment. If the employee confides in their boss about the need for rehab, they should not worry about discrimination or repercussions.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

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The ADA offers limited protections against discriminatory practices toward employees with substance use disorders. Employees with a history of addiction, or who are currently in treatment, are protected under the ADA.

Because alcoholism is considered a disability, alcoholics are protected under the ADA.  Even so, employers have a right to enforce policies that forbid drinking alcohol in the workplace. Also, an employee who is an alcoholic will be held to the same work-related standards as other employees.

The ADA does not consider someone who is active in their addiction while employed to be an “individual with a disability.” Employers have the right to prohibit the use of substances in the workplace, and can legally test employees. A positive test is grounds for termination.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Under the FMLA, those who require addiction treatment and who need treatment are permitted to take an extended leave of absence. They can be granted up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave without the risk of losing their job. This means that after the 12-week leave, the former position, or a comparable one, is guaranteed.

Treatment Options for a Substance Use Disorder

Rehab involves leaving work for an extended period to engage in a multi-modal program of treatment elements. These elements help you learn how to live life without the substance.

When you receive your leave of absence for rehab, this is what you can expect when you enter treatment:

  • Detox and withdrawal. Detox takes place in a closely monitored setting and lasts one-two week on average. As withdrawal symptoms emerge, various interventions are provided to reduce discomfort.
  • Therapy. You will engage in multiple therapy formats to bring about needed changes. These include individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. Evidence-based psychotherapies may include CBT and DBT.
  • Education. While in rehab, you will learn coping skills and stress reducing techniques to help you avert relapse.
  • 12-Step. Many rehab programs include the 12-Step program from A.A. or an alternative like SMART Recovery. These are introduced in treatment so you can then pursue finding a local group in recovery.
  • Holistic methods. The mind-body connection is an important one to attend to in recovery. Learn how to do this with activities like yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and massage.

Taking a leave of absence for rehab is one of the best things you can do for your health and your future.

Rehabs Malibu Premier Residential Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Rehabs Malibu offers the most effective treatment methods for AUD in a 5-star setting. This exclusive private estate provides the finest rehab experience possible and is headed up by doctors. For more details about the program, please reach out today at (424) 425-3541.