The Recovery Friendly Workplace program recognizes employers who are committed to a cultural shift in the way organizations support individuals affected by substance use disorder (SUD). Businesses can help prevent, and respond more effectively to, substance use in the workplace, build their talent by hiring people in recovery, and reduce stigma in the workplace environment.

The Department of Labor’s Recovery-Ready Workplace Hub highlights four pillars of focus for RFWs:

Prevention & Risk Reduction

Identify substance use risk factors in the workplace and take action to address them, including process and policy changes as well as training and education

Training & Education

Educate staff on substance use disorder, treatment, recovery, stigma, organizational policies, and resources available to employees

Hiring & Employment

Adopt fair chance hiring and employment policies and provide reasonable accommodations to employees in or seeking recovery as warranted

Treatment & Recovery Support

Ensure employee access to needed services and supports through employee assistance programs, insurance, wellness programs, or other mechanisms.

The Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative was initially championed by Governor Chris Sununu in New Hampshire and has since gained momentum and recognition on a national level since 2018.

Workplace Impacts

Substance use is prevalent in the workforce, with 26.9 million Americans aged 18 or older experiencing a substance use disorder while being employed as recently as 2021. Among them, 77.6 percent held full-time positions. We know that substance use imposes a considerable financial burden on employers, leading to absenteeism, decreased productivity, increased turnover, and rising healthcare expenses. Moreover, it affects the hiring process for qualified candidates and elevates the risk of work-related accidents and incidents. Becoming a Recovery Friendly Workplace helps Maine businesses and workers thrive together.

Employers are significantly impacted by substance use, yet possess a unique opportunity to address it – for the benefit of their organization, employees, and the wider community. Dealing with substance use issues within the workplace can result in substantial cost savings. Research conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago and the National Safety Council assessed financial costs and savings of addressing SUD and having employees in recovery, further finding that workers in recovery not only exhibit strong work performance but also demonstrate increased job retention.

Dollars and Sense

Aside from the effects on morale, trust, and company culture, substance use is expensive for businesses. Providing resources and support to assist employees affected by SUD is an investment that just makes sense. 

Less Days Missed

by workers in recovery

On average, each employee
who recovers from SUD

Saves a Company