Only one in five FTSE 250 companies have alcohol policy… A charity organisation has highlighted the need for a greater emphasis to be placed on dealing with alcohol-related issues in the workplace after their research found that only 20% of FTSE 250 companies even had a formal alcohol policy in place.
The charity, Alcohol Concern has since contacted business secretary Vince Cable asking for the Corporate Governance Code be amended to include a provision for companies to be required to adopt a specific alcohol policy to deal with alcohol-related issues in the workplace.
Government figures produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggest that alcohol costs the UK economy an estimated £6.4 billion annually as a result of the 14 million working days lost as a result of alcohol intake. Alcohol issues are of serious concern because of the 10 million men and women in England who drink above the recommended limits and the average of 200,000 per day who go to work with a hangover.
Alcohol Concern also contacted the chairmen of the various FTSE 250 companies warning them of the significant impact of alcohol on productivity in the workplace. The charity argues in terms that might be of interest to the money-men driving for profits. They say that implementing an effective alcohol policy is the “formal responsibility” of a board of directors simply because it can successfully target financial losses caused by employee absenteeism or poor performance because of alcohol abuse.
The Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern, Eric Appleby, explained: “Companies simply have to address attitudes to alcohol and drinking behaviours – it is costing the economy billions every year.
“The evidence is that boards are not taking the issue seriously,” he added, “and that’s why we are calling on the government to include alcohol policy as a specific requirement under the Corporate Governance Code. This will help improve the well-being of employees, and at the same time, improve efficiency and productivity.”
Currently the Corporate Governance Code requires companies to provide details on how risk in the workplace is assessed and managed and also demands that human resources can meet business objectives and shareholder requirements – it could be argued that an alcohol awareness programme is part of this requirement. However there is no specific legislation in place yet obligating companies to implement alcohol policies regardless of how much it is their interests and the interests of their employees to do so.