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February 14, 2020 8:52am

GLI-backed bill to address substance use disorder in the workplace filed in the Kentucky State Senate

Over the past year, GLI has collaborated with policymakers and stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth to craft legislation aimed at helping Kentucky employers hire and retain employees with substance use disorders. Senate Bill 173, sponsored by Senator Matt Castlen (R-Owensboro), will support businesses that wish to develop employer-facilitated drug treatment programs for employees struggling with substance use disorders.

“At GLI, we recognize recovery is a life-long commitment. But to help improve outcomes, we need to make sure that individuals have opportunities to keep a job and earn a paycheck, which will help them pursue a more promising path to recovery. With this legislation, we want to empower employers to play a proactive role in this process,” said GLI President & CEO Sarah Davasher-Wisdom.

Substance use disorders continue to weigh down labor force participation rates in Kentucky, causing many employers in greater Louisville to struggle to fill jobs and retain staff. GLI’s members studied legislation passed by Indiana two years ago that provides employers with liability protection and support if they choose to implement drug-treatment policies to help their employees find the help that they need.

“Building off the success of Indiana’s workforce recovery legislation, Kentucky is now continuing to lead the way in advancing legislation that would support employers who have prospective or incumbent employees struggling with substance use disorder seek treatment while maintaining gainful employment,” said Lauren Conaboy of Centerstone, a GLI investor-company focused on mental health and addiction treatment services.  “This bill has the potential to connect more Kentuckians to treatment, while also providing a tool for employers to onboard and retain talented workers.”

The legislation filed by Senator Castlen today will take a similar approach to Indiana’s law and will equip Kentucky employers with the tools they need to address substance use disorders and workforce challenges.

“As a small business owner in Owensboro, I know how painful it is to see employees and their families struggle with addiction,” said Senator Castlen. “Instead of turning these individuals away or letting them go, it is vital that we extend a hand and help them get the help they need. This is good for employees, for businesses, and for Kentucky.”

Advocating for employer-driven solutions to major societal challenges such as barriers to employment and substance use disorders is a key priority for GLI. Read more about GLI’s legislative priorities in the 2020 State Legislative Agenda.