Any policy, including an Alcohol and Drugs policy, needs to be provided and explained to all employees for it to be effective. Australian courts and tribunals are unlikely to uphold any dismissals for breach of workplace policies, if the policies have not been communicated properly to employees, are not up to date or have not been applied consistently. So what can be done to inform employees of their legal obligations? (1)
1. Publicise the policy and procedure Make the policy and procedures available to the entire workforce including casual and part time staff and those on parental leave or career breaks. Copies should be readily available and should be published on the intranet.
2. Training all employees – not just once! Employers have an obligation to provide adequate information, instruction and training to employees. Policies should be in simple English and consideration might be given to translating them into other languages. Ensure that employees understand what the policy means, and how they can comply as well as the implications of non-compliance. Ensure that new employees and contractors are trained and familiar with the policy and procedure. Refresh! Existing staff should receive appropriate updated training, e.g. annual refresher courses. It is a good idea for policies and procedures to be reiterated and discussed regularly at team meetings to ensure that employees remain aware of their importance.
3. Document All employees and contractors should sign that they have read, understood and agree to comply with workplace policies. Records of training and induction should be kept.
4. Evaluate and Review Policies and procedures should be regularly reviewed to ensure that they are current and inline with any organisational changes. If they are updated, the changes should be communicated to employees.
DASA has a comprehensive suite of training courses & materials, developed by in-house experts and customised to your workplace, to support your drug and alcohol program at introduction and ongoing. For more information call us on 02 8001 2535.
(1) www.industrialrelations.nsw.gov.au/employers/workplace-policies Accessed 11 July 2019