Alcohol and Drugs Policy

Model Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy

This model policy is intended to provide an example of good practice to employers and employees and is not intended to represent a statement of any legislation. 

This policy supports the Employer's commitment to the health, safety and welfare of the Employees and its aim of ensuring that employees are assisted and supported at all times.  The Employer recognizes that issues with alcohol and/or drugs can be detrimental to work performance, behaviour to work colleagues and clients as well as causing the affected employee to take time off from work, it is the aim of the employer to minimise these factors.  The Employer has an expectation that work and duties will be performed by their employees safely, and therefore there should be no use and/or after effects of alcohol or drugs, regardless of whether such drugs are prohibited under the law or not.

This policy covers 'legal highs' and the misuse of prescription drugs.


This policy involves two routes the employer may adopt when dealing with alcohol and/or drug issues:

  • Provide reasonable assistance to any employee who is willing to co-operate in seeking treatment for a problem with alcohol or drugs including 'legal highs';
  • Have consideration for dependency when dealing with matters of misconduct that reach a disciplinary stage bearing in mind any detrimental effects on their own or colleagues work.


The employer will seek to assist an employee in obtaining specialist assistance and provide guidance of how to tackle instances of alcohol/drug abuse by:

  • Providing information on the likely symptoms of abuse and the effect of this on an individual;
  • Encourage an employee to seek intervention or undertake self-referral at an early stage;
  • Operate a working environment which encourages honestly and confidence that issues of abuse will be assisted as far as possible;
  • Help staff to continue to contribute effectively in the workplace by supporting them during a period of treatment.

Workplace Rules on Alcohol:

Employees are not permitted to drink alcohol at work and are encouraged to carefully consider consumption of alcohol whilst outside of the workplace if due to return to work, particularly if driving or operating any machinery.  Additionally alcohol can cause drowsiness and can impair judgment which could impact on work performance as well as colleagues and clients.  This statement applies to any contractors who may attend the workplace.

NB:  On occasions the employer may provide a small quantity of alcohol (along with soft drinks) for special events or circumstances.

Assistance for Employees:

In individual who is concerned that they may have an alcohol/drug abuse problem are encouraged and expected to seek confidential advice, help and treatment.  The employer will offer assistance to employees who seek suck assistance will be supported by the employer, however this will be dependent on:

  • The employee recognize that there is a problem and is prepared to co-operate fully with referral and treatment;
    • The employee receiving a diagnosis of the problem from with the company's health provider or their own GP (upon request from the employer );
    • The employers' sickness policy regarding absence and payment for absence will still apply;
    • The employer may look to temporarily re-deploy to an alternative post during any period of treatment.


  • If an employee fails to co-operate in the referral and treatment arrangements, they will not receive any special dispensation for any failure in work performance or their behaviour and such matters will be dealt with through the capability or disciplinary procedures;
  • If the referral and treatment is completed but not successful, matters of performance or conduct will be dealt with using the relevant procedure;
  • Continuation in the job role (or an alternative post during treatment) is dependent on the requirements  of the employer at the time.

Disciplinary Action:

The disciplinary policy as set out in the staff handbook will be followed and either of the following may be regarded of serious misconduct:

  • Attending the workplace or undertaking work duties under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Consumption of alcohol or non prescription drugs whilst at work.

Other Employees

All employees have a part to play in identifying and dealing with alcohol/drug abuse.  If an employee is concerned about a colleague's performance, absence level or conduct and have a genuine suspicion that this may be due to alcohol/drugs it should be discussed with the line manager or HR.  Employees should avoid colluding or covering up for a colleague they suspect has a problem, whilst at the same time encouraging their colleague to seek help. 

Mar 2020

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