Employee wellness programs have been gaining traction in recent years, and that includes initiatives to promote mental health and sobriety. Mandates now require employer-provided health insurance to cover treatment for substance dependency.
This has made it easier for employers to retain valuable employees while supporting their recovery. Many are achieving this goal by working in partnership with local drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in Florida.
According to some studies, substance users have an 82% recovery success rate when referred to a program by an employer. The earlier the process begins, the higher the rate of success. Here’s how you can partner with a local detox center and set up an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support your employees as they struggle with substance abuse.
Have Your HR Department Create and Implement an EAP
An EAP is a work-based intervention program that is meant to help employees resolve personal problems that might be affecting their performance. These personal problems can range from child care to financial problems – and it can also include substance abuse.
Besides helping employees, EAPs are also beneficial for businesses and employers. They can help employers cut costs that would be generated by absence and/or low-productivity. Also, EPAs are a great way to train and inform upper management on the issue and the solutions.
The matter should be studied by your HR department so that a policy can be implemented. This is especially important considering the nature of addiction that surrounds many substance abusers. Companies that don’t have an HR department can still get external help to develop an EAP. They can bring in substance abuse experts to educate upper management and help develop a program to deal with substance abuse in the workplace.
The program should cover:
- Creating a formal company policy for dealing with substance use and dependence
- Educating staff and management on the signs of substance abuse
- Having a platform in place to guide employees who need help
- Providing a safe and confidential system for employees to discuss their needs for recovery assistance
- Affiliating your company with a reputable treatment facility
Find a Suitable Detox Center That Works With Businesses
Many drug rehabilitation facilities partner with local businesses through their Employee Assistance Program. Employers should investigate local recovery centers to find those that work with businesses.
These facilities can help you fulfill the goals and parameters of your employee drug abuse awareness and prevention efforts. They can also help you develop or improve on your current program, and discuss the availability and need for long and short-term addiction treatment for your employees.
Many programs are covered by employer-provided insurance or offered as part of a benefits package. Companies that do more than $100,000 worth of business with the federal government can apply for funding to cover the cost of care under the Drug-Free Workplace Act (DFWA). There are also grants available if you meet the guidelines. The point is to make detox free and convenient for employees while offering lasting, high-quality recovery assistance.
Getting Insurance Coverage For Detox And/Or Rehab
All insurers are required by law to provide coverage for rehab treatment on some level since services related to it are considered essential benefits. Mental and behavioral health services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, and/or behavioral therapy, for instance, are included in that list. The same goes for substance abuse disorder treatment, like medications, medical monitoring, or the use of treatment facilities.
The percentage of coverage, however, will depend on the plan chosen. Insurance for employers all provides different levels of care in their policies. Many major insurers have plans that cover detox as well as psychiatric treatment. Some insurers might require that treatment be pursued based on the guidelines of official associations or medical institutions in order to provide coverage.
Companies can also rely on the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare. In fact, according to the ACA, employers with more than 50 full-time employees must provide insurance or make an employer shared responsibility payment to the IRS. Employers must follow the ACA minimum requirements when providing insurance.
Employees can also benefit from Medicare and/or Medicaid as well as their employer coverage. Benefits from both programs can coordinate with that coverage. However, it is important to know the details of the coverage provided by either of them. They both provide reasonable coverage for rehab treatment, even though it has limitations regarding time, medication, etc.
Laws Supporting Employees In Need of Treatment
There are multiple laws that ensure that employees have the right to receive rehab treatment and not lose their jobs. One of the most famous ones in the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which covers many conditions, including addiction. The FMLA entitles employees of covered employers to unpaid time off for medical treatment, while their job is protected.
Covered employers can be inclusive of: private-sector employers with 50 or more employees working for 20 or more weeks a year; public or private schools (either primary or secondary); and local, state, or federal government agencies.
The FMLA grants employees 12 weeks off to receive treatment for conditions impairing their ability to work. These weeks can either be taken at once or incrementally, but they must all be taken within a 12-month period. However, should the person be caught abusing substances and failing to stay sober, they might lose their benefits.
An employee has to claim the FMLA when they ask for leave – not doing so might not protect them from denials. Also, if the employer established they have the right to fire someone due to substance abuse, FMLA cannot protect the employee. If they did not establish that, however, denial or firing might cause legal trouble. The employee might have reason to believe or claim they are being discriminated against due to their addiction.
Not all cases of leave for rehab need to be done under the conditions of the FMLA. Employers and employees can sit down and negotiate a plan that would be beneficial for both parties. As long as there is an agreement and it is official, the conditions can differ from the requirements of the FMLA. Having an EPA will be especially useful in these scenarios.
Along with FMLA, employees in need of rehab can also be protected by other acts, such as:
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA ensures that employers will not discriminate against employees with disabilities. Additionally, it requires employers to give potential employees with disabilities the same opportunity as those without it. It also states that employees can’t be hired, fired, or discriminated against based on any of their disabilities. In this case, addiction is one of the conditions protected by the ADA.
The Rehabilitation Act applies to programs conducted by federal agencies or federal programs that receive aid, or grants from the federal government, as well as those in employment practices of federal contractors. Like the ADA, it also forbids discrimination based on disabilities, which includes addiction as well.
How To Approach An Employee About Their Substance Use
Talking to an employee about their issues is always a touchy and sensitive subject. This is especially true when dealing with potential substance abuse. Even if it isn’t directly affecting job performance, you may be accused of violating their privacy. They may become defensive and deny that there is a problem.
As an employer, you have a responsibility to safeguard your company and employees. While many addicts can be highly functional, sooner or later, they can affect their coworkers. When the time comes to have that talk, here’s how to approach the subject respectfully:
- Have an established wellness or Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place to deal with such issues, and make sure that all employees are aware of its existence and guidelines.
- Identify areas of deteriorating performance such as chronic tardiness or absenteeism, missing deadlines, lower work quality or decreased productivity, and frequent accidents.
- Document performance problems and specific incidents. It helps to have a physical record rather than vague recollections or accusations.
- Consult with direct supervisors and HR about how to proceed with the employee who needs help.
- Invite the employee to meet with your HR director and/or their immediate supervisor. There shouldn’t be a room full of people present, otherwise, it could embarrass the employee or put them on the defensive. Don’t attempt to diagnose or make accusations, Simply state your concerns and provide the documentation to back them up.
- You should know they might initially try to deny that there is a problem, or try to explain themselves. They might even have a very negative response or become more aggressive. Anyone in the room responsible for addressing this should keep their calm and talk firmly, but not in a rude way.
- While an employee needs to feel supported and understood, there is a difference between helping and enabling. Avoid trying to make excuses for them or covering them for long. The goal is to make them understand the consequences of their actions, and know that they need help.
- Refer the employee to a treatment program. This is where it helps to have an established relationship with a local detox facility.
Educate Your Staff and Management
Once you’ve partnered with a detox center and codified your EAP, you need to make sure that your employees and supervisors are aware of the program and its benefits. This should be done in a mandatory company-wide meeting and be a part of new employee training, too. Knowing that these programs are in place, that they are free and confidential, and that their job is safe should they decide to enter treatment will improve employee morale.
The program should provide:
- Substance abuse education
- Family support
- Peer counseling
- Assistance entering a treatment program
- Help transitioning back into the workplace after treatment
How Employer/Detox Partnerships Work
The first step is to identify the problem, talk to the employee, and check if they agree to seek help. Next, arrangements will be made between the facility and the employee for an assessment and to decide on a course of treatment. The primary counselor will work with your designated EAP director for the duration of the treatment. That way, you can be informed of progress and receive updates as needed.
Drug treatment doesn’t end with detox. The first few months after leaving a program and returning to work are crucial for long-term success. An integrated EAP partnership provides ongoing support after initial rehab to help prevent relapse. This could include continued outpatient treatment, counseling sessions, or residency in a sober living environment. This will all depend on the severity of the dependency and on the needs of the patient.
In most cases, there will be ongoing monitoring of the employee and contact between the facility and EAP director, which might include:
- Drug screenings
- Confirmation of attendance at counseling sessions
- Verification that the employee is meeting all other requirements of the recovery plan
Get Treatment For Employees At Coastal Detox
Getting help while having to work is possible, and it doesn’t have to be hard. While keeping employees and employers in mind, we at Coastal Detox designed two program options for working people. Those who need help dealing with their addiction can count on the Executive Program and/or Treatment For Working Professionals. They can help both employees and employers who need their jobs but also need addiction treatment.
We can provide effective, quick treatment in as little as 30 days. From detox to substance abuse therapy, we cover all the bases to allow employees and employers to overcome their addiction. We also provide counseling that will be helpful when professionals go back to their daily routines. There are both residential and outpatient service settings available, and they will be recommended according to your needs.
Substance abuse affects all of us in some way, whether we’re struggling ourselves or watching another deal with dependency. If you are looking for help for yourself or a coworker, we can help. Contact us today and find out more about our programs and our center. Our team will be happy to give you all the information you need!