Employee wellness programs have been gaining traction in recent years, and that includes initiatives to promote mental health and sobriety. Mandates requiring employer-provider health insurance to cover treatment for substance dependency have 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 percent 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
Due to the nature of addiction and the climate of denial that surrounds many substance abusers, the matter should be studied by your HR department and a policy implemented. If you don’t have an HR department, you can bring in substance abuse experts to educate upper management and help your company 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 need 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. Investigate local recovery centers to find those that work with businesses. Such a facility can help you fulfill the goals and parameters of your employee drug abuse awareness and prevention efforts, 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. You might also discuss using the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if residential treatment is needed, compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Affordable Care Act (ACA), confidentiality, and other legal issues.
Many of these 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.
How to Approach an Employee About Their Substance Use
Talking to an employee about their issues is always a touchy and sensitive. 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. 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.
- 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 as part of new employee training. 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
Once you’ve identified the problem and the employee has agreed to seek help, 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 so 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 a sober living environment, depending on the severity of the dependency.
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
Substance abuse affects all of us in some way, whether we’re struggling ourselves or watching another deal with dependency. We’re here to 24/7 to provide help and support. Call us today at 866-802-6848.