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Guide to supporting an alcoholic employee

Reading time 2 minutes (inc. support info). Reviewed 23/02/2023.
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Our Guide to Supporting an Alcoholic Employee offers strategies to approach, assist, and guide employees dealing with alcohol-related challenges, fostering a supportive workplace.

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What is a Guide to supporting an alcoholic employee?

Employers have a responsibility to support employees who are struggling with alcoholism. Here are some reasons why employers should support an alcoholic employee:

  1. Legal obligations: Employers have legal obligations to provide a safe and healthy workplace. An employee who is struggling with alcoholism may pose a risk to themselves and others if they are under the influence while on the job. Supporting the employee in their recovery can help to mitigate these risks.

  2. Employee retention: Alcoholism can lead to absenteeism, decreased productivity, and turnover. Supporting an alcoholic employee can help to improve their job performance, reduce absenteeism, and increase their loyalty to the company.

  3. Humanitarian reasons: Alcoholism is a disease, and employees who are struggling with this disease deserve compassion and support. Providing support for employees who are struggling with alcoholism is the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective.

  4. Corporate social responsibility: Supporting employees who are struggling with alcoholism is part of a company's broader social responsibility to promote health and well-being in the workplace.

  5. Employee morale: Providing support for an alcoholic employee can help to improve overall employee morale. It shows that the company cares about the well-being of its employees and is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace.

In summary, supporting an alcoholic employee is the right thing to do from a legal, humanitarian, and social responsibility perspective. It can also benefit the company by improving employee retention, job performance, and morale.

Guide to supporting an alcoholic employee
guide to supporting an alcoholic employee

Guide to supporting an alcoholic employee


Supporting an alcoholic employee can be a delicate and complex issue. It is important to approach the situation with sensitivity and respect for the employee's privacy. Here are some steps you can take to support an alcoholic employee:

  1. Approach the employee with compassion and respect: Start the conversation by expressing your concern for the employee's well-being and your willingness to support them in any way you can. Be careful not to come across as accusatory or judgmental.

  2. Encourage the employee to seek professional help: Encourage the employee to seek professional help for their alcoholism. This may include counseling, therapy, or a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

  3. Provide resources: Provide the employee with resources such as the contact information for a local addiction treatment center or employee assistance program. Let them know that you support their decision to seek help and that you will help them to access the resources they need.

  4. Be flexible and accommodating: If possible, be flexible and accommodating in adjusting the employee's work schedule or duties to support their recovery. This may involve offering time off for treatment or allowing them to work from home.

  5. Maintain confidentiality: Respect the employee's privacy by keeping their alcoholism confidential. Only share information with others on a need-to-know basis, such as HR or the employee's manager.

  6. Provide ongoing support: Supporting an alcoholic employee is an ongoing process. Continue to check in with the employee and offer support as needed. Encourage them to attend support group meetings or counseling sessions and celebrate their progress towards recovery.

Remember, it is important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Supporting an alcoholic employee can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can help them to get the help they need to recover and thrive in the workplace.

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