Abstracts: October 8th, 2007

The annual Absence Management survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development estimates that up to 14 million working days are lost each year due to alcohol related problems, costing the UK an estimated 2 billion pounds each year. Almost a third of organisations have dismissed employees in the last two years due to alcohol problems.

The survey found four out of ten employers believe alcohol misuse is a significant cause of employee absence and lost productivity. One third of organisations report that drug misuse has a similarly negative effect in the workplace. Despite the damaging impact of drug and alcohol misuse at work about four in ten of the 500 organisations surveyed have no policy in place to help them manage this challenging issue.

The survey also finds employers could do more to support employees with substance dependency problems, with only 38% of employers providing co-ordinated rehabilitation support to help individuals return to work after treatment. Only a half of employers provide access to counselling or to occupational health services for employees fighting drink or drug problems.

The report highlights the success of rehabilitation policies. More than 60 per cent of staff returned to work in organisations that refer employees with problems to specialist treatment or give them rehabilitation support. Training managers is also essential so that they are able to identify and manage drugs and alcohol misuse in the workplace. Yet only a third of employers train managers in how to manage these sorts of issues at work.

The report is available at: http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/hrpract/absence/absmagmt.htm?IsSrchRes=1