Statement of Purpose In 2019, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that there were 21.2 million persons aged 18 or older who considered themselves to be in recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD). As employment is an important predictor of positive outcomes for maintaining long-term recovery from SUD, a recovery-friendly workplace workgroup (RFWW) was formed to develop a recovery-friendly workplace toolkit (RFWT) targeted at small businesses that may not have sufficient human resources capacity to establish policies and regulations for hiring and retaining employees in recovery (EIR).
Methods/Approach To inform the development of the RFWT for small businesses, a semi-structured interview guide was created and vetted through the RFWW and administered to 25 small businesses to assess workforce capacity and experience in hiring EIR and to gauge interest in the usefulness of an RFWT.
Results Industries represented in the interviews were the services, manufacturing, and construction industries. Resources identified as useful for inclusion in the RFWT were: 1) a flowchart of recovery-friendly hiring processes; 2) legal considerations when hiring EIR; 3) policy templates on attendance, time off, Family and Medical Leave Act, work standards, and reasonable accommodations; 4) a list of local recovery supports to share with EIR, such as links to local SUD treatment and recovery support organizations, etc.; and 5) a list of workplaces that currently hire EIR.
Conclusion Multiple RFWTs exist for large businesses, but there is a gap in the current availability of RFWT resources for small businesses. Our interview results show that small employers are extremely interested in affordable and practical guided policy and program RFWT resources.
Significance Targeted RFWTs will provide small businesses with integral policy and program resources to enable them to confidently hire and retain EIR, expanding their workforce capacity and thereby promoting and sustaining long-term recovery from SUD.
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