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Annie Hayes

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Could do ‘more’ – bosses ignore alcohol and drug problems

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A new survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) exposes employers for failing to support employees with substance dependency problems.

Just 38 per cent pay enough attention to the problem by co-ordinating rehabilitation support to help individuals with drug or alcohol problems return to work. The findings also show that four out of ten employers believe alcohol misuse is a significant cause of employee absence and lost productivity. One third says that drug misuse has a similarly negative effect in the workplace.

Despite the findings Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser for the CIPD and report author, said that little progress has been made in the last six years:

“Since 2001 the number of organsiations with drug and alcohol policies has remained around the same (58 per cent) and where organisations do have policies they are doing very little to actively promote them. Simply adding a policy to a rarely used staff handbook is unlikely to ensure the issue is seen as an ongoing priority.”

In further evidence that prevention is better than cure, almost a third admitted to dismissing employees in the last two years due to alcohol problems because the problems had got out of hand.

Willmott advises bosses to train managers in dealing with the issues. Currently only a third do so.

The Health and Safety Executive currently estimates that up to 14 million working days are lost each year to alcohol related problems at an estimated cost of £2 billion each year.

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Annie Hayes

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Read more from Annie Hayes
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