Hold the phone: Christmas party hangovers are not sick days!

According to a recent survey of 2,000 UK workers around 32% of respondents admitted they’d used a sick day to nurse a hangover. Regrettably for employers, you cannot put distinct rules in place to prevent people calling in sick with a hangover and with Christmas party season truly upon us, lost working days can prove problematic.

If you are worried about how festive celebrations could give you a short-staff headache, here are a few tips to implement now to help you avoid the situation.

Set out a clear policy

Before the tinsel is even out of the box, make sure all staff are aware of an office-wide policy on Christmas parties and alcohol consumption – and make it clear well in advance. That way, all employees will know what is acceptable – and you should see your “sickie” figures curbed slightly as a result.

Be responsible

If it is your own office party, put a few preventative methods in place to ensure your staff have a good night without it running in to the next day. Finish serving alcohol at a sensible time and arrange for transport to take people home so that they stick to some sort of curfew.

Don’t let it be disruptive

Drunk or hungover employees can be unproductive and may disturb others at their work. They could also prove a hazard, especially if operating machinery, which can cause accidents and upset other staff. If you suspect a member of your team is suffering with a hangover at work, then make sure they are safe and working at a level which benefits you and your employee.

Don’t be afraid to ask

If you think someone is drunk, or hungover, ask them. As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees and if you deem it necessary you can also send them home.

Remember, citing a hangover as a reason for a sick day is not a valid excuse! Set out a clear policy and set examples of those who follow it. Log any incidents and make sure they are investigated thoroughly, so that others aren’t tempted to follow in their footsteps!

For further information please contact Sue Ball, Head of Employment.

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