Deciding to go to drug rehab is monumental, changing your life for the better isn’t always easy. Before you leave for treatment, there are many obstacles you must face, such as telling your boss you’re leaving for substance abuse treatment. If you’re struggling with this task, we have some tips for telling your boss that you’re leaving for addiction treatment. There is also some research you can do as far as your rights to rehab, limitations that can come up when leaving for rehab, and keeping your job while you’re in treatment for drugs or alcohol.
Telling your Boss Your Leaving for Rehab
Before you have the conversation with your boss that you’re leaving for treatment, prepare yourself. The same way you prepare for an interview, be prepared to answer questions they may have and have a plan for the conversation. Having answers ready can help this conversation go smoothly on both ends and can help ease your mind.
Here are some tips that can help you tell your boss you’re leaving for substance abuse treatment:
1. Be prepared – Before you have the conversation, read about your companies’ policy on drug and alcohol abuse. Review the employee handbook or other paperwork and material you were given when you were hired. If there aren’t any policies about job security if you leave for medical detox or drug rehab treatment, look into the Family and Medical Leave Act.
2. Honesty – Chances are your boss may suspect something is amiss already. Although, they may not know what it is. Explain your need for leaving for treatment and how your addiction affects your overall health. Honesty is the best route with this, your boss will appreciate it. Being honest may help the conversation go smoothly.
3. Don’t be afraid of being negatively marked – Working while in active addiction, there have probably been some consequences at work, whether it be verbal warnings, write-ups or some form of demerit. Don’t let negative marks deter you from seeking help for an addiction and going to treatment. Going through a drug rehab will allow you to come back to work stronger than when you left.
4. Knowing Your Rights – Through being honest, your job should be safe. You also have the right to addiction treatment through the Family and Medical Leave Act we mentioned earlier.
5. Help Your Work Prepare – When you know that you are leaving for treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, help your boss and coworkers prepare for your absence. Let them know of any deadlines or projects that are due. Helping them prepare for your absence will help them out while you’re away, and it will help take some of the stress off of your shoulders.
6. Your addiction may not be a secret – While using, most of us think that we have pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes, this is often not the case. Your boss most likely knows that you are struggling. Being open and honest when telling your boss that you’re leaving for rehab is respectable.
7. Don’t avoid the conversation – Even if you are fearful of having the conversation, you are protected to seek treatment under the FMLA. Seeking treatment sooner rather than later can be the difference between life and death. We lose around 200 people a day to opiate overdoses; don’t wait to get treatment for addiction.
8. If you’ve done all of the above and decided not to have the conversation – You are not obligated to tell your boss your reason for leaving. You can ask for a leave of absence for your well-being. The leave will help you to be able to perform the duties of your job when you return. Use vacation time, and ask your boss not to discuss your leaving with anyone else. Asking your boss to keep your leave of absence confidential prevents you from dealing with any negative reactions when you return to work.
How does FMLA Protect you When You Tell Your Boss You’re Leaving For Substance Abuse Treatment
When you are ready to go to rehab, keeping your job is often a major concern. The Family and Medical Leave Act state that employees can “take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave because of their own serious health condition or to care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.” Or “A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job.”
Addiction is a serious health condition; it is not a moral failing or lack of willpower. Your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you if you seek rehab while you are employed. Your employer must allow for your leave of absence for treatment. While you can take leave for treatment of your addiction, many employers have very strict substance abuse policies and using drugs on the jobs could cost you your job. Keeping clear open lines of communication with your boss should help ease you back into your job when you return from rehab.
If you have gone through enough pain and are ready to seek treatment for a substance use disorder, contact us today at (855) 448-3588. You can heal, we can help. Don’t live in fear of your addiction running your life anymore.