I’m desperate to go to rehab, but what about my job?
Overcoming alcohol addiction isn’t easy. Neither is it cheap. However, rehab treatment options and costs aim to be as flexible and affordable as possible, meaning that seeking professional help is an option for individuals who want to give up drinking or taking drugs. The problem that some employees have is taking the time off from work to address their problem.
“I know that if I could spend 28 days as an inpatient at a private rehab treatment clinic I would be giving myself the very best chance of overcoming my problem with alcohol,” explains 33 year old Daniel*. “I can afford the treatment fees, I genuinely want to change, and I have plenty of encouraging family members and friends around me who would support me through it all. Unfortunately, the company I work for see things differently.”
Daniel makes good money but works in a very competitive, target driven working environment. Last year he found himself in a ‘Catch-22’ situation: “My regular alcohol consumption increased in tandem with rising pressure at work. I needed to take some time out, to reconfigure my relationship with alcohol. But at work, even taking an hour off to visit the dentist is frowned upon.”
When Daniel asked to take a month off to go to a rehab clinic: “it didn’t go down well at all.”
All workers have rights
“I was even threatened with the sack. But then, after consulting an employment lawyer, I realised that I had rights. Alcoholism is an illness. It is not that easy to terminate a staff member’s employment contract if they need to be away from work for a period of time, to seek help and get well again. What my employer was failing to understand was that going to rehab was the only way I’d be able to continue with my job!”
It’s important to understand that residential rehab treatment isn’t the only option when it comes to getting professional help from a private clinic. For some people, outpatient treatment, which involves visiting a clinic on a regular basis for appointments with a consultant or therapist, may be a good solution. This means you don’t have to take significant time off work and your employer won’t be without a key staff member for up to a month.
Rehab – who foots the bill?
Some rehab treatment patients cover the cost of their treatment themselves, but others fund their treatment with private medical insurance (PMI), whether this is through a personal policy or a policy that they have through their workplace.
If you are struggling with alcoholism and are wrestling with whether you should take time off work to get help, whether you should even tell your boss and colleagues that you have a problem with alcohol, and how you are going to find the money to cover the cost of the help you need, read Alicia’s* story:
“Not knowing what to do about telling my manager I had a drink problem and needed help almost drove me insane. That, coupled with worries over how I’d pay for treatment, almost put me off seeking help altogether. When I finally summoned the courage speak up about my problem, my boss couldn’t have been more supportive. He explained that the company could even help with rehab costs.”
Many employers have an occupational health fund or cover through one of the UK’s PMI companies. It’s important to check with your HR or occupational health departments to see if you do have access to a company PMI policy and whether this covers the treatment you require.
For more information on our funding options, you can visit our fees and funding page.
*All names have been changed to protect patient confidentiality.