Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that requires extensive treatment to recover. While rehab is often necessary, many people avoid receiving the help they need. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 10% of the population struggles with addiction and 75% of them never receive treatment.[1]

There are many reasons that people avoid attending addiction treatment, however, the most common barrier to recovery is worrying about losing your job. Since inpatient treatment requires you to live at the facility full-time, you will have to take time off of work if you choose this level of care. This makes some people fear that seeking help means they will lose their jobs.

Thankfully, there are ways to keep your job during rehab. If you want inpatient treatment, you can use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. On the other hand, outpatient programs can allow you to receive treatment services while you continue working.

How to Keep Your Job During Rehab

Receiving care from a drug and alcohol rehab center is the best way to ensure that you maintain long-term recovery. Without support, your addiction will eventually render you unable to keep up with your responsibilities at work. Keeping this in mind, it is worth it to take time off for addiction treatment.

Thankfully, you have a few options to secure your job while you receive rehabilitation services. If you are wondering how to keep your job during rehab, choose one of the following methods:

Using the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical reasons.

To use the FMLA, you must be taking time off for one of the following reasons:[2]

  • The birth of a child or to care for a child within the first year of their life
  • The placement of an adopted or foster child in your home within one year of placement
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • To receive treatment for a serious health condition that renders you unable to perform the essential functions of your job

Thankfully, addiction is considered a “serious health condition” that would cause you to be unable to complete tasks at your place of work. To use the FMLA, you must notify your employer and provide medical records to prove you are struggling with a medical condition.

This allows you to attend up to three months of inpatient rehab without worrying about losing your job.

Choosing Outpatient Rehab

If you do not need inpatient care, you could attend an outpatient rehab center. Typically, outpatient rehabs offer treatment plans that require you to attend sessions between 3 to 5 days per week for a few hours each day. These programs have highly flexible schedules, giving you the ability to continue working while you receive treatment.

While outpatient treatment centers require you to have more personal accountability to remain sober, they offer many of the same services as inpatient treatment. If you are worried about taking time off of work, outpatient rehab might be a good fit for you.

Attending a Continuum of Care

Lastly, if you want to attend both inpatient and outpatient rehab, you could use the FMLA for the inpatient portion of your treatment journey. Once the FMLA runs out, you can resume working while attending an outpatient treatment center to keep you connected to a recovery program.

Many people opt for a continuum of care, as this provides the strongest foundation of sobriety possible.

Signs That You Need Addiction Treatment

If you are struggling with substance abuse, it can be helpful to be aware of the signs that you need professional treatment. Knowing this information can help you determine whether it’s time to take temporary leave from work.

The signs that you need addiction treatment include:

  • Having a hard time controlling how much or how often you abuse substances
  • Making excuses for your substance abuse or denying that you have a problem
  • Hiding your substance use from your loved ones and using in secret
  • Experiencing mood changes, isolating from friends and loved ones, or losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Continuing to abuse substances even though they are causing mental health issues
  • Being unable to stop using drugs or alcohol despite facing health consequences
  • Frequently getting into risky situations while under the influence, such as driving while intoxicated
  • Needing to increase the dose of a substance to experience the desired effect
  • Experiencing uncontrollable urges or cravings to abuse a substance
  • Dealing with withdrawal symptoms when you cannot consume a substance

If you or a loved one suffers from these symptoms, it’s time to consider attending professional treatment. Thankfully, the FMLA can help you keep your job while you receive inpatient rehab and outpatient treatment is always an option that allows you to continue working.

Get Connected to a Top-Rated Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center

If you or a loved one require addiction treatment services, First Step Behavioral Health is here to support you. Our drug and alcohol rehab programs offer evidence-based services to ensure you develop the skills you need to maintain long-term recovery.

At 1st Step, we understand the importance of supporting individuals navigating the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for addiction treatment and mental health support.

We provide personalized guidance to clients seeking treatment with us under FMLA provisions. Our team collaborates with individuals and their employers to streamline the process, ensuring clarity on the duration of their leave, documentation requirements, and the necessary steps to facilitate a smooth return to work.

To enroll in a treatment program and learn more about how to keep your job during rehab, contact First Step Behavioral Health today.


  1. The National Institutes of Health (NIH): 10 percent of US adults have drug use disorder at some point in their lives, Retrieved January 2024 From
  2. The U.S. Department of Labor: Family and Medical Leave Act, Retrieved January 2024 From

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