This is one of the most asked questions that all South Florida treatment centers hear from executives, CEOs, CIOs, CMO’s, managers, and administrators. Can you keep your job while in rehab?

This single question is actually 2 separate questions. The first is: can I keep working while in rehab and the second is can I return to a job after completing rehab. These are the answers.

Important Note on Quality

Focus less on the ability to keep your job while in rehab and remember to focus on quality. The same drug treatment for CEOs should be given to anyone who signs up, regardless of job description. The only difference should be amenities and additional/alternate drug treatments. It’s important to be skeptical of any treatment center that offers “better” drug treatment for executives because it signals a predatory nature of services. Always look for a treatment center that has good treatment at the heart of their ethos, no matter the patient.

1 – Can You Keep Working While in Rehab?

The answer to the first question, about keeping your job while in rehab, is almost always a resounding no. No way. Never. Don’t even think about it. Next question.

However, there is a new drug treatment program in South Florida that caters to executives, CEOs, business owners, and high level managers who cannot afford to be away from their positions for the extended period of time that it takes to enter a detox facility, complete rehab, and rejoin the workforce.

These new executive programs allow patients to maintain some level of control over their devices (phones, tablets, laptops) while also communicating with the outside world. These luxury drug treatment programs also offer high end amenities like chiropractors and massage therapy as well as alternative treatment programs such as brain mapping.

This is a unique program, unlike other drug rehabilitation program. In any and all other drug treatment programs, your communication is limited so that you must focus on recovery and on yourself. These communications are managed but the opportunity to continue to run your business or keep your job while in rehab opens up these programs to new executives.

Though this is only a recent program, this is the first step to receiving drug treatment with a job.

The next most important question to ask is: Should You Keep A Job While in Rehab?

This answer to this question is completely dependent on your level of comfort. Executives and business owners may not have the luxury to take the time off. We recommend that if you can take the time off, you should take the time off. If you cannot and you must maintain your job, then enter into an executive program.

2 – Can You Return to Work After Rehab?

Most certainly! But there are some caveats. For some, work is just one giant trigger. This is especially the case for high level executives, CEOs, business owners, and managers who work in high stress environments.

Counselors will often recommend that you enter back into the workplace with some level of caution. If you maintain a high level of open communication with sponsors and groups, you may be able to ease this transition.

The next most important question to ask is: Can You Get Fired for Going to Rehab?

The short answer is no, you cannot get fired for going to rehab. There are 2 protections that recovering addicts have to ensure that they can keep their job while in rehab, and these protections generally apply to most employees. Addicts currently using drugs may be fired, but those in rehab who are not actively using are usually protected from getting fired.


The Family and Medical Leave Act protects employees who need to take extended time off from work for medical reasons only if:

  • You’ve worked for your employer at least 12 months
  • You have worked for a minimum of 1,250 hours over the past 12 months
  • You’re employed at a site where the company employs 50 or more workers within 75 miles

If you meet the criteria, employers must provide you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year as needed.

ADA Protection for Addicts in Recovery 2

If your employer discovers you are in rehab, they cannot fire you. An employer can fire you if they discover you are currently using illegal drugs.

Those who are covered by the ADA:

  • Have been successfully rehabilitated and are no longer engaged in the illegal use of drugs
  • Are currently participating in a rehabilitation program and are no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs

Treatment & Career – Priorities

Remember that this is about more than just the desire to keep your job while in rehab. You must make your own health a priority. Always do what’s best for you and never hesitate to reach out to your sponsors, loved ones, and support groups for more help.



[1]: Department of Labor – The Family and Medical Leave Act – US Department of Labor (PDF)

[2]: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights – Substance Abuse under the ADA

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