During the past seven years, since the licensing laws were relaxed in 2005, UK employers in all sectors and of all sizes are likely to experienced surges in staff sick leave that might be hangover related. In fact, research conducted by the University of Lancaster highlighted that UK workers collectively take an estimated 670,000 unauthorised days off work annually due to overindulgence in alcohol the night before.
Of this estimated figure, female employees are shown to be racking up an additional three days off per year since opening hours were extended and their male counterparts an extra day and a half per year. These figures are extremely worrying to human resources professionals dealing with staff members suspected of excessive absence due to too much alcohol during out of work hours.
When such cases arise, human resources personnel and line managers should avoid acting on hearsay and speculation. Regardless of whether or not suspicions are justified, the questioning of staff members about their out of hours leisure pursuits requires diplomacy, sensitivity and strict adherence to company policies that comply with employment law. Knee jerk reactions on the part of employers can be deeply distressing to employees and even result in employment tribunal claims being instigated if staff members uphold that they are unjustly accused, bullied or discriminated against.
We at NorthgateArinso are experienced and expert providers of human resources services, on a fully outsourced basis to businesses that do not have dedicated in house personnel, and on a partially managed basis to those that do. In cases of suspected unauthorised absence due to overindulgence in alcohol, or for any other reasons, we can guide businesses through the correct procedure. In its absence, businesses are often unsure about what constitutes both fair treatment of staff members and breaches of employment law.
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