One of the most asked questions by someone calling to seek help from a drug and alcohol detox facility or treatment center is regarding taking time off work in order to get the necessary help they need. Employment or work, for good reason, is often a barrier for individuals seeking help from addiction in actually accepting help and entering a detox, rehab, or treatment center. There are a number of reasons that employment or work might be a barrier.
First, the individual may be in fear of losing pay. Their salary or hourly wage may be imperative for them to live. They may be the sole breadwinner of the household for the family, or they may be a single parent in a single-income home. They may have bills to pay and need to work in order to pay those bills. Loss of income is entirely important and must be considered when seeking help for addiction.
A second reason might be that they don’t want their work to find out that they have an issue with drugs or alcohol. The stigma of addiction is strong, and they may not want their boss or their human resources department to know that they are dealing with addiction issues. They might feel that they will be judged by their job, their management, or other employees.
Finally, in conjunction with the previous two reasons, they may feel like their job might be in jeopardy if they go to detox or seek addiction treatment. They may believe that they will be fired and lose their job if they tell their employer they need to go to detox for drugs and alcohol, or they may get fired if they don’t tell their employer and go to detox and treatment anyway. They may concerned that they do not have enough Paid Time Off (PTO) at work, and therefore cannot go to detox or treatment. Every company has different benefits and PTO plans, so each potential patient might be dealing with different circumstances regarding their job and how time off and paid time off (PTO) works in regard to seeking help for addiction.
Fortunately, anxiety, worry, and concern regarding work and going to treatment it not unique, happens all the time, and is something that is not terribly difficult to navigate. The truth is that all employers have dealt with employees that have had issues with drugs and alcohol, or have had mental health struggles, and required to seek help through detox and treatment in order to once again find health and wellness. Another little known truth is that most employers want nothing more than their employees to be healthy. A healthy employee is a happy employee, and a happy employee is a productive employee. Most people will be surprised at how often companies, employees, and human resources departments deal with situations regarding an employee’s issues with addiction. Years ago, issues with drugs and alcohol were so widespread that Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs, were created specifically to support both companies and employees finding help, navigating the situation, and help an employee return to work happier, healthier, and drug- and alcohol-free. Employers will often say how their sober employees, in recovery from addiction, are often their best, most productive employees. It is the fear of having a conversation with a boss, a manager, or a human resources professional that often holds back an employee from disclosing their issues and openly seeking help.
The good news is, besides the overwhelming support that many companies will provide employees when they discuss the need to seek detox and treatment for drugs and alcohol, most employees have tools at their disposal in these situations. The most well-known is FMLA, also known as The Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA is a federal labor law, created in 1993, that requires covered employers to provide employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. FMLA, for those employees covered, allows employees twelve workweeks of leave for medical or family reasons over a 12-month period. While FMLA does not necessarily allow for an individual to be paid, depending on how each company handles its paid leave of employees, some employees may be eligible to continue receiving wages while they go to detox and treatment.
While each situation is different for each employee at each company, the important thing to remember is that an employee dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction is not something that is unique or out-of-the-ordinary for a company to deal with regularly. Many companies have a human resources (HR) department that will help the employee navigate the issues, both taking a leave from work, seeking help, and then returning to work, while typically larger companies or organizations may have either an internal or external employee assistance program (EAP) in place to help for just such an issue. It will often be unsurprising for employees to see how understanding and compassionate their company will be in such situations.
Here at Innovo Detox, we often see patients that do not want to or have not informed their employer of their need to seek treatment or admit into detox. However, we also often find that once admitted, or even earlier during the process of admission, the patient decides that they do want to inform their employer. Our team here will assist in the process of taking FMLA, as well as coordinating with their employer’s human resources department or employee assistance program (EAP) in navigating the patient’s leave of absence, treatment process, and return to work. In our experience, we often find human resources professionals, company owners and managers, and other staff more than happy to help in the process and just happy the employee is finally seeking help and a roadmap to health and wellness. More often than not, they offer the employees their best wishes and hope that they will take care of themselves until they are ready to return to work.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.