Can I Keep My Job While In Drug Rehab?

Legal protections such as the ADA and FMLA can safeguard people from workplace discrimination when seeking addiction treatment. Learn about flexible outpatient rehab programs and other options available to help people balance both their career and recovery.

Can I Keep My Job While In Drug Rehab?

Many people experiencing substance use disorders (SUD) may delay or refuse seeking treatment due to their need to keep their jobs.

However, options exist for people to keep their jobs while receiving drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

People with some health conditions, including SUD, have legal protections, and many employers will make reasonable accommodations for employees with mental health or other medical conditions.

Residential Treatment Options For Workers

Some inpatient or residential treatment options will allow you to bring a laptop so that you can complete school or work obligations remotely, outside of treatment time.

As allowance for electronics and internet use varies from program to program, be sure to speak to a facility representative about rules related to working during treatment.

There are rehab centers that cater to working professionals, offering specialized addiction treatment programs for executives, nurses, lawyers, first responders, or other professionals.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment For Flexibility

Though inpatient treatment is often recommended for people with severe addictions, outpatient programs can work well for those with mild to moderate addictions.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

IOPs usually require at least nine hours of treatment every week, in sessions that last from two to five hours a day, for at least 90 days. Many IOP programs are flexible and can last up to a year.

Though this can make a regular work schedule a bit difficult, evening sessions may be available to make keeping a full-time job more realistic.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

PHPs offer even more intensive treatment and structure than IOPs, so having a day job while completing one would prove difficult.

PHP programs tend to meet two to seven times per week, totalling about 20 hours per week of treatment sessions.

Standard Outpatient Programs

The most flexible of addiction treatment program options, standard outpatient programs offer less than nine hours per week of sessions that are generally less intensive.

They mostly consist of individual therapy and group therapy sessions, education, and peer recovery groups, allowing the most flexibility for a regular work schedule.

Telehealth Outpatient Options

Telehealth has come a long way in a short span of time.

There are many programs with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protections that allow for safe and effective treatment options without having to attend in-person treatment.

For people able to do so, this can be an accessible way to get behavioral health care while worrying less about a major impact on job performance.

Supplemental SUD Treatment Options

There are also addiction treatment options available for people unable to complete a formal treatment program at this time, or for those who need supplemental support to outpatient or other care.

Recovery Support Groups

Peer support groups such as SMART Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other 12-step groups, and others can help people share their experiences in recovery and gain support.

Aftercare And Group Activities

Though not specifically a treatment program, aftercare can be essential for people in recovery to help with relapse prevention and gain additional support.

Legal Support For Workers With Addictions

There are certain legal protections and additional options for workers who need drug or alcohol addiction treatment and don’t want to lose their jobs.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

Substance abuse is considered a disability under the ADA, and so employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees in recovery.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Some EAPs offer programs focused on helping people in recovery. EAP programs are typically paid for by your employer and are separate from your health insurance coverage.

They may offer short-term therapy, education, and social service connection for employees dealing with prescription or illegal drug addiction, and may provide referrals to outpatient services.

Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA leave of absence allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year without the risk of losing your job.

Further Protections And Treatment Options

Other protections afforded to employees dealing with a substance use disorder include the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and HIPAA.

These provide further protections regarding medical information sharing and protections against discrimination for employees with drug or alcohol addiction.

There are also health insurance options that your employer may offer.

If you need detox services or other substance abuse treatment options, speaking to your human resources department as well as your healthcare provider may give you additional insight into options available to you.

Get Help For An SUD Today

Whether in need of an inpatient or outpatient rehab center, you or your loved one can find resources for recovery at, or call us today to learn more.

Published on

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.

  • Was this Helpful?
  • YesNo
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (844) 616-3400