Alcohol, Drug & Smoking Policy
Last Updated 2 Aug 2022 in Wellbeing
The Society takes the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers seriously and this policy outlines how we do this in relation to smoking, drink and drugs, including the support available for colleagues dealing with dependency.
Key points covered:
- Smoking guidelines
- Definitions and consumption during work
- What to do if you think you may be dependent on drink or drugs
- How any performance/misconduct issues relating to drink/drug misuse are handled
- Searches and drugs screening
- Colleague and manager responsibilities
If you would like to talk to someone confidentially about drink or drugs our free Employee Assistance Programme can help – please call the 24/7 helpline on 0843 208 4568.
About this Policy
We are committed to protecting all colleague’s health, safety and welfare at work. All colleagues have the right to work in an alcohol, drug and smoke free environment.
The purpose of this policy is to set out responsibilities regarding alcohol, drug and smoking misuse and achieve the following:
To have a smoke-free workplace environment.
To have a working environment free from the effects of alcohol and drugs.
To encourage colleagues who suspect or know they have an alcohol or drug-related problem to seek help confidentially and provide support to these colleagues who seek to overcome their problem fairly and consistently.
This policy applies to all colleagues (whether employed on a full-time, part-time, fixed term or permanent basis), as well as agency staff and contractors. Anyone visiting our premises must also comply with the restrictions set out in this policy.
This policy does not form part of any colleague’s contract of employment and we may amend it at any time.
Failure to comply with this policy will be dealt with in accordance with our Disciplinary Policy, in serious cases, may be treated as gross misconduct leading to summary dismissal.
Who is Responsible for this Policy?
All colleagues are expected to follow the guidelines set out in this policy. Colleagues are encouraged to speak with their line manager in the first instance if they need assistance with this policy.
Colleagues should inform their manager if they know or suspect that a colleague is under the influence of drugs, alcohol or other substance whilst engaged in Society activities. Where a colleague is unsure of how to report a concern, they can visit our dedicated report a concern page.
All managers must treat colleagues fairly and consistently in accordance with this policy. Managers must ensure all colleagues and visitors are informed of the policy and any signage to support this policy is clearly displayed at the entrance to the premises and other appropriate places.
Smoke Free Workplace
Smoking is prohibited in all Society premises and vehicles. This applies to, but is not limited to the use of, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, pipes, cigars and herbal cigarettes. Smoking in smoke-free premises or vehicles is also a criminal offence and may result in a fixed penalty fine and/or prosecution.
Colleagues may only smoke outside in designated areas. Where there is no designated area, colleagues must smoke in an appropriate place (e.g. away from any entrances, colleagues or customers and any enclosed places). Colleagues who go outside to smoke are restricted to taking smoking breaks during their lunch break, or during the structured breaks they receive during their working day/shift (where agreed with line management). When smoking outside, you must dispose of cigarette butts and use designated smoking areas respectfully.
Anyone using Society vehicles, whether as a driver or passenger, must ensure the vehicles remain smoke free. Whilst vehicles owned by colleagues fall outside this policy, if colleagues are using their personally owned vehicle for any ‘work purpose’ and are travelling with a colleague in the car, they must adhere to this smoke free policy for the duration of the journey.
Colleagues must adhere tospecific guidance for your business group where smoking has additional health and safety implications for our colleagues and customers, for example the safeguarding of children’s health and wellbeing, by reducing their exposure to smoke.
Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drug consumption/dependency affects individual health and work performance in terms of safety, efficiency, productivity and attendance. In addition, it can have a detrimental effect on colleagues and their dependents. As a responsible employer, the Society recognises the need to take measures to address the issue of alcohol and drugs in the workplace.
‘Drugs’ include illegal substances, prescribed and over-the-counter medications and legal highs (natural or synthetic).
Alcohol and Drugs at Work
Colleagues must not present themselves for work under the influence of alcohol or drugs as their performance or ability to carry out their activities at work safely and competently may be impaired.
The Society has a zero-tolerance approach to alcohol consumption where it could impact the health and safety of colleagues or customers (for example, where roles entail dispensing of medicine, caring for children, and driving customers). Managers should act immediately where characteristics of drug, alcohol and other substance misuse are presented, which may indicate abuse of this policy.
The Society prohibits the consumption of alcohol and drugs in the workplace or on company business other than responsible drinking of alcohol in connection with approved social functions.
For clarity the normal working hours during which the policy applies includes all periods of work such as shift work, overtime and extra duty, and any period whilst waiting for work, such as between split duties. Any period of agreed standby or emergency call out duty shall be considered to be part of the normal working hours for the purposes of this policy.
The Society takes a zero-tolerance approach to the consumption, possession or sale of illegal drugs within Society premises, outside during working hours, or in any vehicle used for business, all of which are strictly prohibited. Possession and sale of drugs are also criminal offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Any Line Manager who believes that a colleague is contravening this section should investigate without delay and take advice from HR as appropriate.
Where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a colleague is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will speak to the colleague confidentially and follow the relevant Society procedure. Misconduct related to the consumption of alcohol or drugs is normally dealt with under the Society’s disciplinary procedure and acts of gross misconduct are likely to result in summary dismissal.
In these circumstances, if the colleague is thought to be unfit for work, he or she may be suspended from their duties whilst any investigations take place, to minimise danger to himself or herself, other colleagues and customers.
When representing the Society outside of normal working hours, colleagues are expected to take a responsible attitude to alcohol. Illegal drugs are strictly prohibited at all times. Colleagues should bear in mind that they are representing the Society and must not do anything to jeopardise its reputation. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes both events organised by the Society and where colleagues are reasonably identifiable as a Society colleague, or where interacting with other work colleagues.
Colleagues must seek advice on medication and inform their line manager regarding any prescribed medication that may influence their ability to carry out their work safely and must follow any instructions subsequently given. Advice from occupational health may be sought.
Colleagues that have been prescribed medication should be aware that they are prescribed purely for their own use and should not share with any other colleague for any reason.
Colleagues obtaining treatment or medicines for themselves should be aware of the conditions and side effects notified and where possible seek out alternatives that do not impair performance through drowsiness or other symptoms. If in doubt further guidance should be obtained.
The Society is committed to providing appropriate help and support to colleagues who suspect or know they have an alcohol or drug-related problem and will look to treat this in a similar way to other health issues.
Colleagues should speak confidentially with their manager and are strongly encouraged to disclose any alcohol or drug dependency problems voluntarily, at the earliest opportunity and before any issues which might result in disciplinary action being taken.
Managers will offer appropriate support, such as encouraging colleagues to see their GP or a specialist drug or alcohol agency, the Society may refer the colleague to occupational health and signpost colleagues to our dedicated support services through GroceryAid. Colleagues can also download the Everymind mental health support app, to access dedicated alcohol and drugs resources, for more information click here. Where relevant line managers may seek further guidance from their designated HR Advisor.
Alcohol or Drug Convictions
Colleagues must advise their line manager if they are charged with and/or convicted of a drugs/drink offence in order to be able to consider the impact upon their role and appropriate action. If the line manager is not informed further action may be taken under the relevant Society policy.
Support for Managers
Managers can access support resources, helping them to help a colleague. GroceryAid helpline partner Care first offer extra support and resources for managers.
Please visit the managers area for additional support, including:
Freephone advice, information and counselling service.
Online information resources (including managing a team, noticing problems, supporting a critical incident, helping you to help your colleague).
Management referral to initiate counselling for a colleague.
Colleague Searches and Drugs Screening
The Society reserves the right to conduct searches for alcohol or drugs on our premises, including, but not limited to, searches of lockers, filing cabinets and desks, bags, clothing, and packages (colleagues will be paid for this time where it falls outside of work hours). Any alcohol or drugs found as a result of a search will be confiscated and action will be taken under our disciplinary procedure. Where appropriate, the police may also be informed.
The Society may carry out random and/or targeted alcohol or drug testing of colleagues. Targeted testing will be appropriate where the Society has a reasonable suspicion that a colleague is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is otherwise in breach of this policy. Drug screening will be conducted by an external provider. Arrangements will be discussed with affected colleagues, where appropriate.
Where a colleague unreasonably refuses to allow their personal items to be searched or to take part in drug screening, the Society may draw an inference regarding that refusal. In those circumstances, disciplinary action may be taken.
Characteristics of Drug, Alcohol and other Substance Misuse
There is no single characteristic which identifies a colleague with a drug, alcohol or substance misuse problem and there may be many other reasons for the colleague’s behaviour. Below are some signs for consideration:
Signs of intoxication:
Smell of alcohol
Appearing to be detached from reality
Making inappropriate comments
Signs of a longer-term problem:
Poor attendance management
Poor work performance, especially large variations in quality and quantity of work of a previously reliable colleague
Many minor errors in work
Increased rate of accidents such as trips, slips and falls
Lack of concentration and easily distracted
Sudden change of mood
Concern expressed by colleagues
Please note that all the circumstances should be considered and Managers should not rely on one particular factor.
If you have any questions regarding this policy or require additional support, you should speak to your line manager. Alternatively, you can contact the HR Advisor for your business group, or email HR.email@example.com.
The Society has partnered with GroceryAid to provide colleagues with a FREE confidential helpline service. For help and advice colleagues can contact the confidential 24/7 GroceryAid Helpline by calling 08088 021 122. A live webchat is also available here. There is also a wide range of guidance and support resources available at www.groceryaid.org.uk. Colleagues can also download your mental health support app, designed by Everymind for further support resources.
Support services include:
Drinkaware provides independent alcohol advice, information and tools to help anyone concerned about drinking.
Drinkline is the national alcohol helpline – call 03001231110.
NHS offer local alcohol addiction services
Visit the Frank website to find local drug treatment services. Talk to Frank also offer facts, support and advice on drugs and alcohol.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the largest alcohol support group, helping people to overcome alcoholism.
Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking Policy
Date of last review: