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What Employers Should Know About Drink & Drugs at Work

During the summer months, alcohol becomes a big part of people’s lives, as it does during any seasonal occasion in the UK. “Any excuse for a drink” is the general British logic, in terms of alcohol. With soaring temperatures and one of the hottest summers on record, should employees be allowed that cold beer during their lunch hour?

Firstly, ensuring a company’s regulations on alcohol and drugs within the workplace are clearly stated in the contract of employment is essential. An employer has to clearly state the guidelines they expect their employees to follow, whilst an employee must be informed of these rules.

As a nation of keen drinkers, should alcohol be banned entirely? This is completely dependent on the individual organisation and culture. For instance, some companies offer a drink to staff within the last hour of work on a Friday afternoon. In some environments, this is a great method which allows employees to relax and socialise, usually during a time period when they are not likely to feel extremely productive.

However, a zero-tolerance policy is appropriate in certain job roles, therefore, the rule should be implemented for the entire company, ensuring fairness and equality.

Narcotics can often signify some more serious underlying issues, so approaching these in an appropriate manner is crucial. Instead of immediate disciplinary action, could guided counselling be more effective? If an employee is suffering with a somewhat reliance on recreational substances, this could be treated like any other health issue, such as depression or anxiety.

Random drug testing is legal, however, should be included in the employee handbook. Drug testing should only be carried out when the employer has a cause for concern, on employees who may be an issue. If an employee refuses to complete the drug test, this is considered gross misconduct.

For most companies, including an occasional glass of the prosecco during festive events, or when the organisation achieves something worth celebrating, is no bad thing. Having a slightly more relaxed and happy atmosphere can boost team spirit and the overall working environment.

Alcohol and drugs are still a very sensitive issue which should be handled with care. For any advice on what alcohol policies are appropriate for your company, please contact us today. Call Michael on 01905 824051, 0121 516 0299 or email michael@cloverhr.co.uk


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