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Calling Time on Drinking During Working Hours

Published 23 February 2017

Calling time on boozing during working hours is never likely to be a popular move.

It never used to be unusual for some employees to enjoy a drink or two at lunchtimes or to strike a deal while enjoying a drink.

So the reported announcement by Lloyds of London that it was imposing a lunchtime alcohol ban was always likely attract quite a bit of attention – and criticism (1).

It is reported that the ban was introduced after ‘roughly half’ of the disciplinary cases investigated by Lloyd’s in the last two years were found to be alcohol-related (2).

The historic financial institution is said to have updated and clarified its policy in relation to drinking during working hours

The boozy lunchtime culture may now appear to be a thing of the past with stories of daytime alcohol-fuelled shenanigans the tales of folklore (3).

There’s no doubt that drinking too much during working hours can lead to all sorts of problems.

The question many employers may ask is: what can we do to stop it?

The matter should be covered in any drugs and alcohol policy, which should cover all activities during the working day. The policy should be clearly communicated to all staff.

Any such policy should be used to deal with problems in an effective and consistent manner without unreasonable delay.

The Health a Safety Executive has produced a guide on alcohol at work to help owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses (4).

All employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing (5).

Any organisation that allows an employee to work in a state that puts their own safety or the safety of others at risk could be prosecuted.


1. Addley E. Lloyd’s alcohol ban challenges City of London’s drinking culture. The Guardian [Internet]. 2017 Feb 17 [cited 2017 Feb 23]; Available from:

2. City workers at Lloyd’s of London banned from daytime drinking [Internet]. [cited 2017 Feb 23]. Available from:

3. The boozy lunch: Life can be about pleasure as well as obligation [Internet]. The Independent. 2016 [cited 2017 Feb 23]. Available from:

4. Don’t mix it: A guide for employers on alcohol at work [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jan 24]. Available from:

5. An employer’s duty of care can manifest itself in many different ways. Find out more | Acas workplace snippets | Acas [Internet]. [cited 2017 Feb 23]. Available from:


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