How to Keep Your PA Job While Going to Rehab

For many people struggling with substance use disorder, the idea of attending rehab is often traumatizing. While attending rehab to manage your addiction is a tremendous life-changing decision, it still requires careful consideration. Unfortunately, doubts and insecurities can prevent individuals from getting the treatment they require. Many of the Little Creek Treatment Center patients in Pennsylvania successfully kept their jobs during rehab. To help you do the same, we are here to give you advice and effective strategies on how to keep your PA job while going to rehab. Of course, there are no universal answers due to the differences based on various job types and employment statuses. Join us as we demystify this topic and explain your legal rights and the best course of action.

We realize that change is always scary. However, fear of change shouldn’t prevent you from getting the treatment you need. When talking to our clients about their thoughts before admission, their most common fear was losing their employment. Although fear can sometimes be crippling, you mustn’t let it control your decisions. Help is available, and there are legal actions you can take to keep your PA job while going to rehab. However, you must remember that there may be specifics related to your contract and employment status. To get precise and accurate information regarding your options, it would be best to contact a legal specialist. They can give you specific advice regarding your employment situation.

Can You Get Fired for Going to Rehab?

One of the first questions that always gets asked is: “Can your boss fire you for going to rehab?” Unfortunately, the answer is much more complicated than a simple yes or no. Thankfully, rehab itself should not be a cause for termination. However, your employer will be within their rights to fire you if you are currently using drugs. Since most individuals who need rehab are active users, some people believe there is a legal grey zone.

Your job performance may suffer from your addiction. Your employer can seek disciplinary measures if your conduct or job performance is unacceptable. One of their options would certainly be to fire you if you are compromising your work. The best course of action is to seek treatment for your addiction before it starts interfering with your work. Your job will be protected if you contact your Human Resources department about needing treatment. Therefore, asking for help can save your job. Moreover, avoiding rehab can jeopardize your employment if your boss finds out you have an addiction.

Using drugs or alcohol at your workplace can also be a cause for termination. Even if you are currently able to manage your substance use, addiction is a progressive disease. When left untreated, substance use will only get worse over time. You will probably use more and more and have trouble controlling when you are using. Additionally, showing up for work with a hangover or exhibiting cravings and signs of withdrawal will raise many red flags. Your boss might be prompted to investigate, which can lead them to learn about your addiction. They can fire you before you seek help and enter rehab. Therefore, the safest way to keep your job is to start looking for treatment immediately.

Laws that can Help You Keep Your PA Job While Going to Rehab

We already mentioned that the law is on your side. However, since we are dealing with a delicate matter it would be helpful to go into specifics. We will outline the current laws and regulations that can rely on for job protection while in rehab. It is still highly recommended to talk to a legal representative and contact the HR department of your company. If you want to do your research, here is a list of laws regarding healthcare that pertains to rehab.

The Affordable Care Act

The reform of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act from 2010 is often just called the Affordable Care Act. Patient Protection and the ACA prevent insurance companies from denying care or charging you more based on your health status. Employers must offer reasonable and affordable health insurance. Health care coverage must be offered to those working more than 30 hours a week. The ACA also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report violations of health insurance reforms. All of this means that you should have health insurance that you can rely on for rehab.

The Family Medical Leave Act

Substance use disorder is classified as a mental illness, and the FMLA classifies mental illnesses as serious health conditions. Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave they can use for treatment. Also, the Family Medical Leave Act is confidential so you aren’t obliged to disclose the type of treatment you need.

To qualify for FMLA benefits, you must have worked for a public or private employer for 12 months. Private companies must have more than 50 employees to qualify for FMLA. If you are covered under FMLA you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period. During this time, your employer must provide you with the same level of health insurance. Additionally, upon return to work, you must have the same terms and conditions of employment. Do note; however, that this does not include having the same position in your company.

To cover your leave with FMLA, you must use treatment provided by a health care provider. Alternatively, you may also receive treatment from a provider who is referred to you by a healthcare provider. You can also take FMLA to leave to care for a family member who is getting treatment for substance use. Remember that FMLA does not cover work absence that results from substance use – it only covers absence for treatment.

Another critical consideration is that you should check to see if your employer has an established policy that allows them to terminate employees for substance use. That policy must be non-discriminatory and clearly communicated to all employees. If that is the case, you may be fired for substance use regardless of FMLA leave. If you are unsure of workplace policies, you should contact your HR department.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for persons with disabilities. Additionally, persons with substance use disorder should be treated as persons with a disability. However, to be treated as such, those individuals must not be using illegal drugs or alcohol. Drug users are covered under the ADA when successfully rehabilitated or actively participating in a rehabilitation program.

Lawyers looking at contracts.
Contact your HR department or a lawyer if you need help protecting your rights.

Employee Assistance Program

We suggest checking if your workplace has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Some workplaces use EAP to connect employees to helpful services for substance abuse, mental health disorders, and other issues. If your workplace has an EAP they can help you get started with your substance abuse treatment. They can determine the treatment you need and what resources are available to you. Not all companies are going to have Employee Assistance Programs. You should reach out to HR staff members to organize your medical leave in those cases. Human resources may be able to organize your medical leave through the company’s disability insurer. HR can also explain the next steps you need to take to get the treatment you need.

Understand Your Rights

We realize that the above advice is hard to understand for most people not proficient in legalese. However, the best way to use these laws is by proactively taking action. You shouldn’t wait for your addiction to spiral out of control and start causing you problems at the workplace. In that situation, you will probably lose your employment. However, if you want to keep your PA job while going to rehab you should talk to your employer. Approach them with a note from your physician directing you to a rehabilitation facility in PA. If you wait for your employer to notice your addiction and call for a drug test – you might be fired.

Enrolling in rehab and getting treatment guarantees that the FMLA and the ADA will protect you. Remember that you must have a doctor’s note directing you to a treatment facility. If you delay getting treatment and your job performance suffers due to drug or alcohol use, you risk getting fired. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended to seek treatment rather than wait for your employer to approach you about your drug use.

The FMLA allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for rehab, after which you can return to work. FMLA leave is confidential and you aren’t obliged to inform your employer about the exact reasons for your leave. If your employer denies you this leave or threatens to fire you, consult a lawyer to pursue legal action.

Planning how to keep your PA job while going to rehab.
Make plans for when you finish rehab.

Going to Rehab

Entering rehab is certainly preferable to waiting for your addiction to escalate and your job performance to worsen. Although there are laws enabling you to attend rehab and remain employed, many individuals are still reluctant to enter rehab. Keeping your job isn’t only about what the law allows, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and frightened. However, we can explain how to organize everything so you can keep your PA job while going to rehab. As you will soon find out, attending rehab is a fairly streamlined process. After you have completed your programs, you will be able to seamlessly resume your work.

Can You Overcome Addiction Alone?

People are struggling with addiction who believe that they can will themselves to stop using. Unfortunately, substance use disorder is a chronic mental illness that affects the mind and body. There are often changes in brain chemistry and a strong physical response when attempting to stop using. These symptoms are especially pronounced when it comes to hard drugs. Addiction to hard drugs such as cocaine is practically impossible to overcome alone. The cravings and withdrawal symptoms tend to keep users shackled. To stave off those symptoms, individuals start using again, which restarts the addiction cycle. You have the best chance for a successful recovery by attending a licensed treatment center for cocaine addiction therapy. If you want to end the hold addiction has on your life and achieve long-term sobriety, consider attending rehab.

Additionally, highly addictive substances such as heroin require professional heroin addiction treatment. The first part of treatment is necessarily going to include a medical detoxification. This process cleanses the body of toxins and allows further healing. However, with extremely addictive drugs like heroin, even when the body is rid of toxins, withdrawal symptoms can be extreme.

In these situations, clinicians that are overseeing treatment apply medicine to help patients overcome their cravings. This is called Medically Assisted Therapy or MAT and it is necessary for patients addicted to hard drugs. Little Creek offers an MAT program where we use medicines such as Naloxone and Buprenorphine as part of medical detox.

The key takeaway from this should be that you are unlikely to stop using without professional help. In most cases, individuals turn to substance use since they are unable to cope with the symptoms of withdrawal. Treatment centers can provide you with the support you need to manage your addiction long-term.

How to Attend Rehab

Some individuals who are suffering from substance abuse disorder get anxious at the mere mention of asking for help. We realize the first steps are the hardest, but without reaching out for professional help – there can be no recovery. Occasionally individuals experience extreme guilt and shame that can prevent them from getting the treatment they need. For these reasons, we decided to simplify and streamline our admission process.

You can contact our admission staff, or even have a loved one contact us on your behalf. Our kind and welcoming staff will be happy to explain everything to you over the phone. We can also help verify your insurance, or you can fill in an online admission form if you prefer. Additionally, we would be happy to arrange transportation services and assist you in arriving at our Pennsylvania facility.

How Long Does Rehab Last?

Another common question regarding rehab is: “How long do recovery programs last?” We have several different treatment programs, so there is no short answer to this question. When you contact us, we can ask you a few questions to determine the best type of treatment for you. We always adapt and personalize our programs to suit our clients’ needs.

That being said, our typical clinical program goes on for a minimum of 30 days. Clinical programs include a residential stay at our facility. We believe that patients in recovery should fully focus on their healing, and avoid contact with the outside world. Moreover, we provide clients with a safe and comfortable environment, free from distractions. Remember that this isn’t a magic number, and not every patient will be ready to transition after this time. We also offer 60 and 90-day extended residential programs for clients requiring more time.

After this time, you can transition to a less demanding program that doesn’t require a residential stay. Such programs can allow you to return to work while attending individual and group therapy sessions. Sobriety is a lifelong goal, and we encourage patients to continue attending meetings to prevent relapse.

How to Pay for Rehab

Most individuals choose to use insurance to cover their treatment costs, albeit that’s not the only option you have. If you choose to rely on insurance coverage for addiction treatment, we can verify your coverage and explain your benefits. Little Creek accepts policies from most major health insurance providers. You can inquire at your job to see who your healthcare insurance provider is. We can also arrange other payment methods if you don’t have health insurance. It is also possible to cover the cost of treatment for a loved one.

Small business owner planning to keep PA job while going to rehab.
Small business owners should talk to their clients about their extended leave.

How to Prepare for Rehab

If you plan to enter an addiction treatment center and keep your PA job while going to rehab, you can make some preparations to ensure returning to your old job is easier. Although you don’t have to disclose the reasons for your absence, it is useful to inform your boss and coworkers. You can tell them that you will be absent and when you plan to return. Try to finish your current projects, and figure out who will take on the workload while you are not there. Once you know how you are progressing through your rehab programs you can contact your workplace. You can give them a better estimate of when you are returning.

Business owners might want to directly contact their clients. Tell them you will be indisposed for some time, and explain who will handle their orders in the meantime. Your clients will surely appreciate the fact that you are personally reaching out to them. You can set your bills to auto-pay and ask friends or family members to care for your pets or plants.

How to Talk to Your Employer

For most people, the most frightening aspect of taking leave for rehab is confronting their boss. We’ve already outlined the laws and regulations that permit you to take time off, so you are covered there. However, the question of whether you should tell your boss why you are taking time off remains an issue.

By law, you are not required to disclose the reasons for your medical leave. Additionally, all the information you give to our admission coordinators is confidential. No one has to know that you are going into rehab. On the other hand, there are some upsides to talking to your boss about your struggles. If you have been struggling with substance use for a while, your boss probably noticed a drop in your performance.

Even legal substances such as alcohol can severely impact your motor skills and cognitive abilities. If you have been binge drinking, you probably aren’t showing up fresh the next day. Tell your boss you are going to seek alcohol addiction treatment and that you will come back better than before. Explain that rehab will positively impact your job performance and productivity. If your boss knows what you are going through, they might be sympathetic and even help you make arrangements.

Only you know what the best decision in this situation is. You don’t have to discuss your addiction to keep your PA job while going to rehab. Consider if talking to your boss will have a positive impact. Remember that they are not allowed to discriminate against you for attending rehab.

Should You Talk to Your Coworkers

When you return to work, your colleagues will probably wonder how you are doing. Medical conditions are private and protected by HIPAA laws so you don’t have to discuss rehab with your coworkers. Most people probably won’t pry about your personal medical information anyway. Instead, your colleagues will be happy that you are back and feeling healthier and more productive.

Man talking to coworker about rehab.
Your coworkers will be happy to have you back.

Can You Continue to Work and Keep Your PA Job While Going to Rehab

When most people think about attending rehab, they imagine staying at the treatment center while they receive therapy. In situations where residential stay is included in your treatment, we refer to that as inpatient treatment. You should know that using online devices is not permitted during residential stay. This can make continuing to work while in rehab practically impossible for most jobs.

We are aware that some jobs are more demanding, especially for employees on the higher levels of the corporate ladder. The same goes for small business owners or CEOs whose companies simply can’t function without their input. Regardless of what the law says, those individuals may put off attending rehab due to the responsibilities of their jobs. While we understand how demanding certain jobs can be, deciding not to enter rehab is never a good solution.

For those individuals, we can offer a form of rehab that doesn’t require a residential stayOutpatient rehab allows individuals to spend evenings and nights at home. This can allow you to balance your work and family obligations with your rehab programs.

However, don’t be fooled, patients in outpatient treatment still need to attend therapy multiple times a week for several hours. This means that you probably won’t be able to work full-time, at least not in the early stages of your recovery. Gradually, you’ll transition to less demanding programs, like Partial Hospitalization Program, which is a step forward from Intensive Outpatient Care. You may be able to attend therapy after work and keep your PA job while going to rehab.

How to Find a Job After Rehab?

One of the crucial elements of recovery is helping our clients reintegrate as productive members of society. Having a steady job and sustaining yourself can do wonders for your self-esteem. Some of our clients already have employment before coming to us for treatment and are interested in how to keep their PA job while going to rehab, others who attend rehab don’t have permanent employment.

Those individuals typically fear they won’t be able to find employment after rehab. They are afraid that the stigma of being a recovering addict will prevent them from getting a job. If you are having these thoughts, we can assure you that you are wrong. We have helped many of our patients find jobs and they continued to lead successful, productive lives.

Our clinical program is broken up into three stages. The second stage is focused on growth and personal development. During this stage of recovery, we provide patients with vocational guidance. During vocational consultations, we offer individual assistance in choosing a suitable career path. We can direct patients to available training resources and provide overall help with employment.

Man at job interview after rehab.
Vocational coaching is part of our rehab programs.

The Stigma of Returning to Your PA Job After Going to Rehab

You might be required to complete a return-to-work form. This confidential agreement includes information from your physician stating you are fit to work. FMLA regulations state that you must be allowed to return to the same job position or a nearly identical one. The return-to-work agreement will outline the expectations of your employer. These expectations may include your ability to perform your job and adhere to your treatment recommendations. Depending on your employer’s provisions, you may have to undergo regular drug screens.

Some individuals are scared of how they will be viewed when they return to work. However, unless you decide to inform your coworkers, they will have no idea why you took a medical leave. If you are feeling particularly anxious, you may want to think about what you will say to your colleagues. Decide in advance if you want to inform them of your treatment.

Conclusions on How to Keep Your PA Job While Going to Rehab

For people struggling with substance use, it’s essential to understand that you are not alone. Feel free to reach out to us and we can help you get started with rehab. Besides helping you cope with addiction, rehab will also teach you the necessary skills to remain sober and prevent relapse. Clients that successfully complete our programs are ready to become productive members of society. This includes holding a steady job and providing for yourself.

There are also resources and laws in place to help you keep your PA job while going to rehab. These laws also prevent your employer from discriminating against you when you return to work. Hopefully, you now understand nothing is preventing you from seeking help and going to rehab. Deciding not to addend rehab may cost you your job if your employer realizes you have a substance use problem. Therefore, your best course of action is to get help before your addiction spirals out of control.

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