H11. Alcohol in the workplace

“We pledge to promote alcohol awareness among our staff, with the aim of increasing their health and wellbeing, and thereby delivering associated improvements in efficiency and productivity.

We will do this by:

Embedding a workplace alcohol policy drawn up with the engagement of employee representatives.

  • Promoting alcohol awareness amongst employees, by highlighting the risks of drinking above the lower risk guidelines, and by providing information to help those employees who choose to drink to do so within the guidelines.
  • Ensuring that employees with alcohol problems receive appropriate help if they want that, and that managers know what they need to do to support them to find help.
  • Where it is felt appropriate to provide alcohol at company events ensure that it is served responsibly and that people are helped to drink within the guidelines. For example, by making sure that non-alcoholic alternatives are always available and making it clear that irresponsible alcohol consumption/behaviour is not acceptable.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve and why it is important.

This pledge is designed to help prevent and reduce the risk of harm from alcohol use amongst staff before it becomes a problem. The pledge is intended to ensure that employees with alcohol problems receive appropriate help if they want that, and that managers know what they need to do to support them to find help.

Alcohol misuse has a major impact on the workplace and lost productivity has been estimated to cost the UK economy up to 6.4 billion per year. The costs include alcohol-related absenteeism, reduced productivity and lost working days. About one in four employees are drinking at a level that is likely to contribute to these costs.

Benefits to public health

Globally, alcohol is the world’s number one risk factor for ill-health and premature death amongst the 25-59 year old age group, the core of the working age population. Becoming unemployed worsens alcohol-related harm and heavy drinking itself, can lead to unemployment, with wider implications for families and the community generally. Those in full time employment – usually about two-thirds of the population of working age – spend about one third to one half of their waking lives at work and this provides an opportunity to increase alcohol awareness.

Benefit to employers/employees

It is estimated that 17.3 million working days are lost due to alcohol. Absenteeism due to alcohol costs employers £1.8 billion. Alcohol-related harm costs an average organisation with 200 employees around £37,634 per annum.

Having an alcohol policy and ensuring staff are alcohol aware can support employees to look after their health and wellbeing, helping them to keep well and in work, promoting a better quality of life and allowing them to make the most of their potential.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to. They will have up to 2,000 characters to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to. All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.

For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update. Further information on the reporting arrangements for each health at work pledge for the reporting period 2014/2015 is available.

Partners will be contacted directly and asked to upload their updates on the Partner Dashboard for each of the pledges they have signed up to.

All annual updates will be published on this website.

Partners currently committed to this pledge (38):

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