Addiction Recovery - Treatment Professional

How Much Time Off From Work Can I Take for Drug Rehab?

How Much Time Off from Work Can I Take for Drug Rehab?

Seeking drug rehab help can be difficult. The Edge Treatment Center can walk you through explaining your decision with your employer and more.

The thought of telling your boss or co-workers about going to drug rehab can be daunting. Luckily, you don't have to tell anyone anything if you choose not to. Another major concern most working people have when they need treatment is how much time they have available time to take off.

For inpatient rehab programs, you might be required to take several weeks off for treatment. While this seems undoable at first, think of this as an investment in yourself for a happier and healthier life.

Look Into the Family and Medical Leave Act  

The first step in the process is contacting your employer's human resources department. Check with them whether you and/or your employer qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This is important because if your employer does meet the specifications for eligibility under this act, you can receive up to three months of unpaid leave for addiction treatment. 

It is understandable to have concerns about being terminated for requesting this information or taking this time off. However, your employer is not legally allowed to terminate you under these circumstances. The FMLA restricts an employer from retaliating in any way against the employee for requesting time off for any reason protected under the act.

For example, they cannot demote or refuse to promote you because of a leave of absence you took for a health condition. This includes treatment for a mental health or substance use disorder

One other option, if your employer doesn't qualify for FMLA, is to use your paid time off. This may not be the most ideal option but remember that treatment is an investment in yourself. Think about the future you, who just completed a successful drug recovery program, and how you will feel. You can be a better you and a better employee.

In the end, this is a better option than not getting the help you need and jeopardizing your job because of your addiction.

The California Labor Code 

If you are living in California, there are a few other options for you, such as the California Labor Code. If you are located in a different state, your HR department should know of other laws that might help you. 

According to sections 1025 and 1028 of the California Labor Code, an employer with 25 or more employees must make “reasonable accommodations” for employees who voluntarily attend drug rehab. The reasonable accommodations mean you are allowed unpaid time off, you can request a transfer to a vacant position, and adjust your schedule to work around your treatment plan.

This is all allowed as long as your leave doesn't cause your employer extra hardship. 

Section 1027 of the labor code discusses the fact that if you have accrued sick leave, you are also able to use these days if you choose drug rehab. If you are feeling nervous about your employer disclosing with other co-workers, section 1026 states that your employer must make accommodations to ensure the privacy of your situation. 

The California Family Rights Act

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is very similar to the FMLA, this is just the California-specific version. The CFRA ensures that an employee receives 12 weeks of unpaid leave for serious health conditions. A serious health condition includes physical illnesses or medical conditions that require continued treatment over time. If you feel more comfortable, you can provide documentation from your rehab facility stating that you will be spending time there without having to include details about why.

Time off under this act is job-protected, meaning the employer has to reinstate the employee to the same or similar position. If this does not happen by the time the employee has completed rehab, the employer can face serious consequences. 

To be eligible for protection under the CFRA, the employee must work for a company with five or more employees within a 75-mile radius. The employee must also have worked at least 1,250 hours within the last year. 

Preparing for a Conversation With Your Employer

If, after looking into these options, your employer doesn't qualify for FMLA, you are not eligible to receive protection under the other acts, and you have no available paid time off, it might be time to consider confiding in your employer. 

The best way to start this conversation is honesty about your situation. You can go into as many or as few details as you would like. The important thing to note here is not to be ashamed about discussing your addiction or need for treatment. If you are truly averse to sharing any details, call it a “medical leave” and leave it at that. 

Even though this process is scary, it is important to advocate for yourself in the workplace and in life in general. You should feel proud of yourself for being brave and starting your recovery journey. 

The Edge Treatment Center Is Your Source for Rehab Resources & Information

Opening up about substance use disorder can be challenging, especially when it involves your career or job. The Edge Treatment Center will give you resources to help you approach this in the most successful way possible.

We offer professional advice and flexible treatment schedules so you can keep up with your work responsibilities. We understand that you can't always drop everything for rehab, so we prioritized offering a flexible program that works for everyone. We also think this process should be fun.

Don't hesitate any longer; contact us today via the form on the right.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Addiction Recovery

Treatment Professional

July 21, 2022