Can I Go to Rehab and Keep My Job?
This is one of people’s biggest fears before going to rehab for a drug or alcohol problem. It’s a question we get asked at The Bluffs all the time. So we figured writing a blog to answer all the questions we hear most about protecting your job when you go to rehab was a pretty good idea.
The truth is that thousands of people go to rehab every year and return to work afterward. In fact, most larger companies already have a plan in place to help make the process of taking medical leave to go to rehab less complicated. So, can you go to rehab and keep your job? The short answer is… maybe. But don’t panic yet.
There are actually laws in place that help protect your job if you go to rehab for addiction. The only catch is that you and your employer need to meet certain criteria for the laws to apply to you. Even if the law isn’t on your side, though, you might be surprised by just how many employers are willing to give a second chance to a good employee who needs some time off to take care of their own health.
Getting Past the Stigma of Going to Rehab
One thing we want to get out of the way quickly is the lousy stigma that some people associate with going to rehab. Mostly it exists between our own two ears. We worry about what other people will think of us if we go to treatment for addiction. Oddly enough, we don’t seem to be nearly as worried about what people think about us using drugs recreationally or drinking to excess.
Now, the other part of that stigma is real. Some people out there still (somehow) don’t understand that addiction is a disease. But it’s important that you do. Think about it this way, if, God forbid, you had appendicitis and needed to have your appendix removed. Would you be worried about losing your job? What if you had COVID and missed work for a month? Would you be worrying more about your job, or would you be focusing on your recovery?
Well, addiction is a disease, remember? Our point is this: You shouldn’t feel any more ashamed for getting the necessary medical treatment you need and deserve for addiction than you would for any other ailment. So if you’re stuck in your head about all of this, it’s time to let that go and take care of you. Better yet, give The Bluffs a call at 850-374-5331 and let us take care of you for a while.
OK, So How Do I Go to Rehab and Keep My Job?
If you remember, earlier we mentioned that you have some job protections under law which can help you go to rehab in Ohio and get the addiction help you need. The federal law we’re referring to is called The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA can get you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from your job for medical purposes. The FMLA law also protects your job while you are in rehab getting treatment. In fact, thousands of people use FMLA for rehab every year. The key to making this law work for you is meeting the requirements and doing things the right way.
If you meet the requirements, the FMLA law can…
- Protect your job for up to 12 weeks (3 months) while you go to drug rehab.
- Protect your privacy (only HR, upper management, medical may know).
- Let you collect PTO pay for saved up sick leave or unused vacation.
- Buys you the time you need to get treatment at an Ohio drug rehab.
What You Need to Know About Using FMLA for Rehab
So now you know what the FMLA can do for you if you want to go to rehab and keep your job. But, it’s just important for you to know what the FMLA doesn’t do. We want you to leverage the law to maximum effect to protect your livelihood while you heal, but we don’t want you to overestimate what it can do or get complacent. So, listen up, this is important:
FMLA does NOT:
- Kick in automatically. You have to tell your boss ahead of time and file paperwork.
- Let you leave work without telling your employer why you’re taking medical leave.
- Guarantee you get your exact same job position at work (it protects as much as it can)
- Get you paid leave while you’re in rehab (except for any PTO you have accrued)
How Do I Know if FMLA Will Protect My Job While I’m in Rehab?
OK, this is the tricky part. Whether or not FMLA applies to you depends on where you work and how long you’ve been there and if you’re part or full-time. To use FMLA, the company you work for has to have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the workplace. You also need to have been a full-time employee for the past year to use FMLA to go to rehab. (The government says working at least 1,250 hours in the last year will do it). You also need to talk to your boss or HR folks and file some paperwork. You don’t have to stand on the break room table and tell the whole company you’re going to rehab, but you also can’t slide out the back door without saying anything. Your boss and HR people need to know what’s going on and there’s paperwork for you to sign. Review the information below to make sure you qualify to use FMLA to protect your job while you’re in rehab.
How to Make Sure You Can Use FMLA to Hold Your Job:
- Make sure where you work has to have at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
- Be a full-time employee there for at least 1 year.
- Have a “qualifying condition”, if you need addiction treatment, that works.
- Talk to your boss or HR people, tell them you want to go to The Bluffs, ask for FMLA.
- Make sure your company gives you FMLA paperwork and you sign everything.
What Else Should I Know About Using FMLA to Go to Rehab?
That’s about it in a nutshell. There is one more thing though. Your employer is required to hold a spot for you as long as you do everything you’re supposed to. But you aren’t guaranteed your exact job position. But, if your exact old job isn’t available anymore, your company has to find you another job there that has equal pay and benefits. That’s still some great peace of mind if you qualify for FMLA though. The Department of Labor has an FMLA FAQ page right here. If you still have questions about FMLA, you will probably find your answers there.
Getting Help for Addiction in Ohio
We hope our guide to using FMLA to protect your job while you go to rehab was helpful for you. Remember that your health is the most important thing and if you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, you deserve help. The Bluffs rehab in Ohio is ready to help when you’re ready to heal. Give us a call at (850) 374-5331, and we can guide you through your journey towards recovery. Remember that there is hope for those who struggle with substance abuse, and no one has to suffer alone.