Life doesn’t just stop because you’ve decided to get help with an addiction. Once you’ve given yourself a chance to feel the relief that comes from acknowledging that you need help, it’s time to get down to the business of figuring out how to manage your responsibilities while you focus on self-care. For many people, it is hard enough to ask for time off work to deal with a short-term illness such as a cold, and it is doubly difficult to request a lengthy leave of absence for addiction treatment. The good news is that you’ve got several options in place for making it easier to figure out how to request time off work to go to rehab
Employees today can rest assured that they shouldn’t be discriminated against for seeking addiction treatment while they are employed. Addiction is covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which means that your employer may be required to allow you certain accommodations that make going to addiction treatment easier. You may also benefit from using one or several of these provisions that can help you to make taking time off work more manageable.
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Employee Assistance Programs
- Paid Time Off
- Unpaid Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of leave from work a year for employees who meet certain qualifications. To be covered under this Act, you’ll need to have been employed with your current employer for at least a year, and they’ll need to employ at least 50 workers for this to apply. Keep in mind that the FMLA doesn’t require paid time off, but it does require your employer to maintain your position or one that is equivalent to your current one for you to return to after your leave is over.
Some employers have assistance programs that allow for people to take time off from work. The assistance program may provide funds to cover any amount of time that will go unpaid during your recovery. Some companies even go so far as to provide addiction-specific programs that help to encourage better mental health in the workplace.
There’s also basic paid vacation leave that you can use however you want. People sometimes choose this option if they want to avoid having to provide an explanation for why they need time off. Or, you might use this option along with family medical leave to extend the amount of time that you can spend in rehab.
Unpaid leave might be the last resort for many people, but it can also give you the chance to work on your recovery. If you need to take unpaid leave, then you’ll want to make sure that you have financial support to get you through the time off. Some people also use unpaid leave to take a few hours off each week to attend aftercare sessions once they’ve completed their first phase of rehab.
Start Planning the Details You Need to Request Time Off From Work
Knowing your rights and the available programs that can help you take time off is important, but you’ll also need to know a few details to make your request make sense to your employer. Getting in touch with your preferred rehab program is the best way to start planning your stay. After going through the pre-enrollment process for addiction treatment, you’ll have information such as a start date and an estimated time for completion that you can use to make your request for time off from work.
While things might change, being able to put down a set date for starting your leave helps you to take advantage of things such as Family Medical Leave. You can also start planning for any potential gaps in your workplace coverage, such as designating vacation time for use during your treatment. If you need to modify your plans by combining inpatient and outpatient care, then it will be easier when you know what to expect from the beginning.
As a final note, remember that your privacy is protected during this whole process. If you don’t want to disclose that you have an addiction, then you can work with your treatment team to create a request that simply mentions that you have a health need.
Any information that you choose to share with your employer about the reason for your request is also bound by confidentiality laws, and they can only share what they have to based upon necessity. For example, they only need to tell their coworkers that you’ll be on paid leave for a specified period of time. There’s no need for them to go into the reason why.
Do you need a set date for beginning your work leave for addiction treatment? We’ll help you get one. Call us at 855-334-6120.