How do I explain to my boss I need time off from work to attend rehab?
The idea of disclosing to a manager, supervisor, or boss that you need time off from work to attend rehab for a drug or alcohol issue can feel overwhelming and intimidating.
Many individuals have been trying to “cover up” an addiction issue for months or even years, and fear judgement and dismay from their coworkers and superiors at work. But rehab is an important step for an individual’s future success, and getting the right treatment can be a key component of being a successful employee.
What Should I Do?
Get a Diagnosis
Visit your GP and get a diagnosis to present to your employer.
Look into Treatment
Talk to your healthcare provider ahead of time about which rehab or treatment options might be right for you.
Know your Rights
Know your rights as an employee, and make sure you are current on your company’s policies about sick leave and Drug & Alcohol policy, if they have one.
Speak with HR
If this information is at all unclear, speak confidentially with an HR representative so that you understand the policies before speaking with your line manager or supervisor, so that you know your rights and responsibilities.
Keep a File
Keep a file recording all communications between yourself and your company on the matter.
Most importantly, don’t wait until substance abuse is creating serious problems for you at work to talk to someone; get support early, be proactive, and demonstrate that you are committed to getting well and taking active steps towards recovery.
Page published: August 7, 2019. Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked January 14, 2022