Before you enter an addiction treatment program, it’s common to have questions. What will the experience be like? How will you change? Will your friends and family be there for you during and after your time in treatment?
One other important question can have considerable implications on the quality of life you can expect once you complete treatment: Can you lose your job for going to rehab?
Can You Lose Your Job for Going to Rehab?
Whether or not you can lose your job for going to rehab can depend on several factors.
If you have been let go from your job because you were caught using drugs at work, or if it was determined that you were under the influence of alcohol or another addictive substance while on the job, going to rehab may not be enough to get your job back.
If you have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder (which is the clinical term for addiction), you are voluntarily entering a rehab program, and you have not been disciplined or fired for being under the influence of drugs at work, you may have a good chance of being able to keep your job.
Some workplaces offer paid leave for employees who are entering rehab. Others offer unpaid leave, with a guarantee that your job will be there for you once you have completed treatment.
The Family and Medial Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) authorizes employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their jobs for a variety of reasons. The list of approved reasons includes “a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.” The U.S. Department of Labor website notes that addiction and other mental health concerns fall under the definition of a serious health condition.
Communication with your supervisor or the human resources department of the organization you work for can be crucial. If you are a member of a union, your union representative can also help you answer the question, “Can you lose your job for going to rehab?”
Can You Go to Rehab and Still Work?
Your ability to go to rehab and still work depends on the requirements of your job and the type of rehab you are attending.
During detox and residential treatment, you will live at the facility where you receive care. Round-the-clock supervision is a primary feature of programming at these levels. Partial hospitalization programs do not have a residential requirement, but they usually involve full days of care.
When you receive rehab services through an intensive outpatient program (IOP), you may be able to work while you’re still enrolled in the program. At the IOP level, you will usually take part in a few hours of treatment a few days per week. This may leave time for work, school, volunteer activities, and other healthy pursuits.
Can You Collect Unemployment While in Rehab?
In the state of California, unemployment benefits are managed by the Employment Development Department (EDD). According to the EDD website, you may be eligible for unemployment while in rehab if you meet certain criteria.
Leaving your job to go to rehab is considered a “Voluntary Quit” as defined by the EDD. If you are not working due to “irresistible compulsion to use or consume intoxicants,” and you enter a qualified treatment program, you may be eligible for benefits.
Establishing eligibility for unemployment benefits includes being diagnosed with a substance use disorder by a doctor or other authorized person. It also involves receiving care from a source that meets the EDD’s definition of a qualified treatment program.
To learn more about your ability to get unemployment while you’re in rehab in California, contact the State of California EDD. If you do not live in California, you will need to contact the appropriate agency in your state.
How You Are Protected If Going to Rehab
Work-related protections for people who are going to drug rehab can include company policies, state laws, and federal legislation.
If your company has a human resources department or an employee assistance program, these sources can help you understand if you can lose your job if you go to rehab. As alluded to earlier on this page, if you are part of a union, you may have certain negotiated protections.
State-level protections for people who are going to drug rehab can vary from state to state. To find out if you are protected, you should contact your state’s department of labor or whatever agency in your state deals with employment matters. Your local elected officials may also be able to provide you with the information you need.
The Americans With Disabilities Act
At the federal level, the two primary sources of protection are the FMLA and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the ADA prohibits workplace discrimination against people who are “currently participating in a rehabilitation program and are no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs.”
To be sure, figuring out what types and levels of protection might apply to you is a complicated process. If you fear you might lose your job for going to rehab, try discussing the matter with a professional who understands your circumstances and is familiar with the relevant policies.
Begin Drug Rehab in California
If you have become addicted to alcohol or another drug, the Ocean Hills Recovery team is here for you. Our drug rehab in California offers a full continuum of care: detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and more. With our help, you can achieve a healthy future, free from the chains of substance abuse. Contact us today to learn more.