There is a common misconception that going to rehab means that you have to lose your job. That is why almost 75% of people (According to SAMHSA) live and work while struggling with addiction issues. However, there are ways in which you can get the help you need and still keep your job. In this article, we will show you how to keep your job before, during, and after addiction treatment in WV.
Can your employer fire you for going to rehab?
The answer to this question is not quite as simple as “yes” or “no”. Technically, your employer cannot fire you because you choose to go to rehab in one of the addiction treatment centers in West Virginia. However, they can fire you due to other reasons. The fact of the matter is that addiction issues can affect your work performance and that your employer may decide to terminate your employment due to lowered productivity on your part. Therefore, the best way to avoid getting fired is to seek treatment before your work performance suffers.
Here are a few issues that your employer might have a problem with:
- Consistently showing up late to work
- Losing the values that made you a great employee in the first place
- Missing workdays
- Sacrificing your work integrity to get high
Addiction changes people. You might not even notice it at first but you will start to change into another person over time and it will reflect in your job performance.
That being said, it is still possible for your employer to try and fire you simply because they know that you have an addiction issue or that you are choosing to visit the best alcohol rehab center Parkersburg WV has to offer, for example. Luckily, you have a variety of options to prevent them from doing that.
How to keep your job before, during, and after addiction treatment in WV
If you want to keep your job and seek treatment at the same time, you have the following options:
- Utilize the relevant laws
- Check your health insurance policy
- Consider attending outpatient treatment
- If your company has an EAP program, use it
Familiarizing yourself with the anti-discrimination laws is an excellent first step. If you know what laws are on your side, you can mention them when your employer tries to threaten your job position. Of course, you should only cite those laws when you actually want to go to rehab. There are no laws to protect your position while you do nothing to recover from your addiction issues.
Relevant laws to consider
If you want to know how to keep your job before, during, and after addiction treatment in WV, the first thing you need to do is read up on FMLA, ADA, and MHPAEA laws. If you are seeking rehab for professionals, it is in your best intention to understand exactly how these laws protect your interests. Let’s start by looking at the most popular law:
FMLA (Family Medical Leave of Absence)
Under the FMLA terms, substance use disorder qualifies as a “serious health condition”, as do many other mental health issues. This law provides you with twelve weeks of job-protected medical leave. Unfortunately, this is also an unpaid leave, meaning that you will not be earning any income while you are getting the treatment you need.
Due to these restrictions, it is very important that you manage the treatment costs to the best of your ability. The best way to start is by seeking out drug rehab centers in WV that accept Medicaid. That way, you will be able to get treatment with minimal out-of-pocket costs and may be able to minimize the effect that missing a salary might have.
There are a few rules for FMLA leave. Most notably, you must have worked for a public or private employer for at least twelve months prior to requesting FMLA. Once your FMLA gets approved by your employer, you will have the opportunity to take 12 unpaid weeks within a year. Alternatively, you can also work at least 1,250 hours in the same twelve-month period and still benefit from FMLA.
Throughout your absence, your employer is required to provide you with the same level of health insurance as you previously had. Your pay, benefits, and any other terms of your employment must stay the same after you come back from rehab. However, that does not mean that your employer cannot change your exact job while you are in rehab. In fact, many people who wonder does FMLA cover rehab do not understand that the employer is not legally obliged to give you the exact same job upon your return from rehab. The terms, the pay, and all the other benefits, however, need to remain the same.
ADA (Americans with Disabilities)
Americans with Disabilities Act serves as an anti-discrimination protection for everyone that wants to get rehab and keep their job at the same time. Under its provisions, both addiction and mental illnesses are disabilities that your employer cannot discriminate against. If your employer employs more than 15 people, they will be bound by the provisions of the ADA.
However, these protections only apply to people that are currently enrolled in rehab programs, as well as those who previously completed their treatment in one of the fentanyl rehab centers, for example. There are no laws that can protect you against drinking or doing drugs at your workplace. Furthermore, if you do not actively seek treatment, your employer still has the right to fire you if your substance abuse or mental health issues are impacting your job. Therefore, if you want to keep your job, the best thing to do is seek treatment as soon as possible.
MHPAEA (Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act)
Understanding MHPAEA is critical to getting the most out of your employer’s health insurance plan. This act stipulates that mental health issues require the same level of coverage as any other serious medical condition. MHPAEA does not cover every single mental health issue, but it does cover most of them. What this Act does is prevent any health insurance companies and their health insurance plans from providing you with the exact same benefits as if you had any other serious medical conditions.
The most important thing that you need to know when utilizing any of the above laws and Acts is that you need to be proactive with them. In other words, you need to apply for one of the medication assisted treatment West Virginia programs, before your addiction issues have the chance to impact your job performance. For example, if you want to utilize FMLA benefits for drug addiction, you will need to present your employer with a doctor’s note showing that you have a problem. It is best to do this before your employer starts talking to you about your declining job performance, as they have the right to fire you due to impaired job performance and/or current substance abuse.
Once you have a firm grasp of the laws that can aid you, it is time to look at some of the other options that you might have. It is entirely possible that you don’t need to invoke any of the laws but that you can simply work things out with your employer.
Try to utilize your insurance policy to the fullest
Before you start thinking about your treatment options, you will want to know what to expect from your health insurance policy. Start by finding out what types of addiction treatment you have coverage for, as well as which treatment centers are within your network. If you want to know how to keep your job before, during, and after addiction treatment in WV, this is the information you absolutely need to know. After you figure out your options, you can then make a choice whether to utilize one of the above federal laws or to try and attend treatment and work at the same time through an outpatient program.
Even though an outpatient program might seem like an ideal choice, as you will be able to keep earning your salary and get treatment at the same time, it is simply not possible in some cases. For example, while outpatient cocaine rehab usually works, a heroin outpatient rehab will not work most of the time. Basically, the more serious your addiction issues are, the less value you can get from an outpatient program.
Outpatient treatment can allow you to keep your job before, during, and after treatment in WV
The best thing about outpatient programs is that they allow you to live at your own home, work, and receive treatment all that the same time. However, outpatient programs are specifically designed for people that have mild addiction issues. There are other options, of course, such as IOP (Intensive Outpatient Programs) that can help with moderate to severe issues. Throughout any of these programs, you will have access to medication, support groups, counseling, random drug tests, and many other tools to help you become sober.
The key aspects of outpatient treatment include:
- Building a sober community
- Getting help from friends and family
To maximize the benefits, you will also want to talk to your employer about a slight change in work accommodations. You may ask them for a slightly different work schedule as well as a leave of absence to receive treatment. Most of the time, your employer will be happy to assist. However, it is possible that they do not want to make any accommodations. If that happens, you will want to refer to the applicable laws.
Look into your company’s EAP program
EAP (Employee Assistance Program) can help you work through any personal or work challenges you might face due to a variety of issues. Luckily, these issues include substance abuse as well as mental health issues, and family difficulties, among others. The main benefit of EAP programs is the fact that you can get free counseling through them.
For some people, this free counseling is all they require to get back to their normal lifestyle. Once free sessions end, however, you may want to ask your counselor about further options. Chances are that you will be able to find a solution that will allow you to work and attend treatment at the same time.
What to do when returning to work after treatment in WV
For many people, getting treatment and taking a leave of absence from work is the least of their concerns. Returning to work after treatment, however, can be an extremely scary thing to face. What will my colleagues think about me? What will my boss do? These, and many other, questions can create a very stressful situation. However, what you need to realize is that returning to work is much simpler than you might believe.
For example, let’s say that you have used FMLA benefits to get the treatment you needed. You will need to simply complete a “return to work” agreement and have it signed by your physician. That agreement will be proof that your work will not be compromised by your previous addiction issues. Furthermore, your employer may require you to take regular drug screens. This is perfectly normal if you think about it for a second, as your employer wants to protect themselves.
Due to the fact that the law is on your side, no one at your workplace can discriminate against you nor can they pry into the details of your condition. You have the absolute right to privacy and all that is required of you is to do your job right. That said, most of the time your colleagues will be glad to see you working again.
If you are still wondering how to keep your job before, during, and after addiction treatment in WV, you can always seek professional assistance. Feel free to get in touch with Harmony Ridge Recovery Center and ask any questions that come to mind. We are here to help you get better and keep your job while doing so!