Can I Lose My Job for Going to Rehab?

A woman worriedly holds her head in her hands while sitting behind a busy office desk.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 70% of people who struggle with addiction are functional enough to keep their job. If you’re ready to overcome your addiction and live a life of sobriety, you might be wondering, “Can I lose my job for going to rehab?” While your concern is valid, there is legislation that protects your right to seek treatment for specific medical conditions, including substance use disorders.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) work together to protect individuals who want to overcome their addiction while remaining actively employed.

FMLA Rehab

Here’s what you need to know when you want to take time off work to overcome addiction in a treatment center. The FMLA provides all eligible employees with 12 consecutive or nonconsecutive weeks of nonpaid, job-protected leave per year for specific medical conditions, including serious health conditions that require hospitalization or an overnight stay at a medical care facility. Under the FMLA, taking time off for treatment may not be held against you in employment actions like hiring, promotions, or discipline.

Your employer may, however, request a medical certification from your health care provider. This certification must include specific information including:

  • Your health care provider’s contact information
  • Information about when your health condition began
  • How long your health condition or treatment expected to last
  • Appropriate medical facts about your condition (e.g., symptoms, hospitalization, etc.)
  • Details about your leave (e.g., will it be intermittent or continuous).


When you return to work, FMLA requires your employer to return you to the same job that you left (or a nearly identical one), with equal pay, benefits, and work schedule.

FMLA Eligibility

Are you eligible for FMLA? If you meet the following criteria, you are eligible for unpaid, job-protected leave under FMLA:

  • You work for an eligible employer. If you are unsure, ask your Human Resources department.
  • You have worked for your current employer for at least 12 months (either consecutively or non-consecutively).
  • You have worked at least 1,250 hours for your current employer during the 12-months before the start of your leave.
  • You work at a location where 50 or more employees work at that location (or within 75 miles of it).


Talk to your employer about FMLA and call Miramar Recovery Center at 949-691-5036 for safe, effective drug and alcohol rehab programs tailored to your unique needs and situation.

Get sober, learn how to stay sober, and get back to doing the work you love with Miramar.

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