Consumption of alcohol during working hours can be a major area of concern for employers for several reasons. It can increase absenteeism and sickness absence and can impact on safety and productivity at work. As such it can be a serious problem and as a business owner it is important to minimise the risks related to drinking at work. Rules relating to drinking at work should be clear in the disciplinary rules in the Employee Handbook. As with alcohol consumption, drug and other substance (e.g. solvent) abuse can cost employers significantly through absenteeism, reduced productivity and potential risks to safety. Employers should adopt a substance abuse policy, which should be clear in the disciplinary rules in the Employee Handbook. There is clearly a difference between using over the counter drugs - which may nonetheless impede the performance of say, someone operating machinery - and the abuse of illegal substances. For information about our Employee Handbook advice service, please visit our business service page.