Alcohol and substance misuse policies

  • Employee Conduct
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

Read our article: 'Alcohol and substance misuse policies'. Contact us today for more information about our Employment Law, Health & Safety, and HR services.

Alcohol and substance misuse policies are a useful resource to have at any time of the year, but especially so during the warmer summer months when it’s more likely that employers may have to rely on them. During this period, incidents involving alcohol consumption or substance misuse increase dramatically, making it essential to have a robust policy. First off, if you don’t already have a policy in place, take steps to implement one straight away – it’s never too late. Getting one set up will ensure that any incidents are dealt with rapidly and effectively, while ensuring consistency at the same time. When is a problem a real problem? Frequent breaches of the alcohol and substance misuse policy may indicate that the employee is experiencing deeper issues. While an effective policy should be drafted in a way which allows disciplinary action to be taken against the perpetrator, it should also aim to encourage employees to seek support and consider rehabilitation if alcohol or substance abuse is a recurring problem. It’s also advisable that your policy clarifies that any investigation and findings of drugs or alcohol issues will be handled in the strictest confidence. Best practice dictates that you should support and encourage the individual towards rehabilitation, as sometimes alcohol or drug dependencies may be treated as an illness. If you offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) you should remind the employee of it as soon as an issue comes to light. What should your policy include? You should warn all your employees that you’re taking a ‘no tolerance’ stance when it comes to alcohol and any substances, and that the following issues will be taken seriously, with disciplinary action as an outcome:

  • Coming to work under the influence of alcohol, any legal or illegal highs
  • Consuming alcohol, legal or illegal highs on the work premises
  • Consuming alcohol, legal or illegal highs during working hours

The risks to your business Remember that as an employer, you could be placing yourself at risk of prosecution if you discover an employee under the influence of alcohol and you knowingly permit them to carry on working – especially if their actions or lack of place the employee or others at risk. Accordingly, if you discover someone under the influence, it’s recommended that you remove them from the premises immediately. A good alcohol and substance policy should allow you to take disciplinary action against the employee or place them on suspension while investigations take place.


Got a question? Check whether we’ve already answered it for you…

Related articles

  • Contractor hit with 18-month community order for illegally removing asbestos


    Jail sentence for director who ‘put profit before health’ for asbestos exposure

    A Winchester-based company and its two co-directors have been sentenced for failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure at a student development project.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Disciplinary
  • Company fined


    Worker suffers life-changing injuries at metal processing company

    A metal processing company has been fined £12,000 following an incident that inflicted life-changing injuries on one of its workers

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Grievance
  • UK enters recession as GDP falls 0.3%


    Scottish football pundit loses £190k IR35 case

    Former Scottish footballer and Sky presenter, Neil McCann, faces a tax bill for £190,047.60 over untaxed earnings under intermediaries rules

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Disciplinary
Back to resource hub

Try Brainbox for free today

When AI meets 40 years of Peninsula expertise... you get instant, expert answers to your HR and Health & Safety questions

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.