How To Tell My Boss I’m Going To Rehab

Preparing to receive treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD) means an upcoming chat with your employer. Find out what protections and benefits are available to you while navigating this step on the path to recovery.

How To Tell My Boss I'm Going To Rehab

Telling your boss or manager that you are planning on attending a rehab program for substance abuse treatment can be a tough conversation to start.

When informing your boss about your decision, it’s also crucial to understand the legal protections provided to you by the federal government as well as by your employer.

Here are some helpful tips to remember when navigating a conversation with your boss about attending an addiction treatment program.

Prep For The Talk

Before discussing your decision with your boss, it is essential to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally. Take some time to reflect on your decision and its importance.

Understand the significance of your choice to begin addiction recovery, recognizing it as a medical necessity that will improve your life, as well as your physical and mental health.

With this confidence, you can feel more empowered when planning to tell your boss about your decision to receive addiction treatment.

If you haven’t already, look into your health insurance plan to identify in-network treatment providers to further bolster your confidence in meeting your healthcare needs.

Understand The FMLA And The ADA

Familiarize yourself with the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to assert your rights confidently during the conversation.

These federal laws are designed to safeguard your rights, protect your job, and prevent discrimination based on your substance use disorder (SUD), which is classified as a covered medical condition.


FMLA leave may only be taken for substance abuse treatment offered by a healthcare provider, such as a rehab facility.

You may also take FMLA leave to care for a loved one who is receiving medical treatment for substance abuse.

An employer may not take action against an employee because the employee has exercised his or her right to take FMLA leave. However, this does not prevent them from taking action against an employee.

If the company’s policy prohibits any employee substance use, employment may be affected. Taking FMLA leave for a covered family member is protected against adverse employment action.


The ADA ensures that people with disabilities, including people with drug or alcohol addictions, have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

It prohibits discrimination against a “qualified person with a disability” in all stages of employment.
A qualified person with a disability includes those with the skills, experience, and education required to adequately perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

The ADA applies to private employers with 15 or more employees and all state and local governments. State non-discrimination law sometimes covers private employers with fewer than 15 employees.

Choose The Right Time And Place

If you can, arrange a private and confidential meeting with your boss, which is ideal when discussing a medical matter such as attending a substance abuse treatment center.

Select a timeframe that allows for a detailed explanation of your situation and gives your boss the opportunity to interact without outside interruptions.

Finally, explain your commitment to overcoming your addiction, highlighting how getting addiction treatment aligns with your desire to continue working as your best self.

Expect questions or concerns from your boss, and address any actively and patiently with them.

Check For EAP Availability

In addition, you can enhance your support system by checking with your employer about available employee assistance programs (EAPs).

An EAP is a workplace-based initiative that provides employees with a range of support services to address personal issues that may affect their well-being, job performance, and overall mental and emotional health.

EAPs are typically offered by employers as part of their employee benefits package. If available with your employer, these can provide invaluable resources for those seeking help during the addiction recovery process.

Some of these benefits can include confidential counseling sessions, referral services for outpatient treatment, crisis response, and more.

Ask your boss or human resources representative for more information about EAP benefits.

Discuss The Plan For Your Leave Of Absence

Specify the duration of your absence with your manager, taking note to see if it falls within the FMLA’s 12-week protection plan.

Offer to help delegate your tasks or responsibilities to other employees within your company before you leave.

Your boss may appreciate your efforts to approach your medical leave proactively and your dedication to your overall work performance.

Find Treatment For Substance Abuse Today

Find help on the road to recovery by visiting for information on addiction treatment options, or call us today for further assistance.

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This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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