One-in-five Brits would expect their P45 if they admitted an addiction problem to their employer

Have you ever considered what the outcome might be if you were to seek help, advice or comfort from your employer in the midst of an alcohol or drug addiction? Apparently, many Brits have thought about this and one-in-five admit that they would expect to be sacked if they were to admit to an addiction problem.

This information has been unveiled by a survey conducted by help and support service, Port of Call, which has formed their new Attitudes to Addiction report.

Interestingly, 19% of men said that they would expect their P45 upon admitting to their employer, however, it was women that showed the most concern, with 26% fearing the worst.

Perceptions around addiction is actually putting people off seeking help for their problems, as 36% of people said they would steer away from getting professional help in fear that it would have a negative impact on their future job prospects.

Recent government data has shown that 1.3% of the adult population are in fact alcohol dependant, if this is accurate, it would mean a significant amount of people would find themselves without a job, should their employer have a zero tolerance policy towards addiction.

Of course, businesses do reserve the right to set their own policies and guidelines, however it seems that not many of them are communicating these rules clearly enough to their employees. The survey revealed that almost a quarter (24%) of people are completely unaware of their employer’s rules around addiction, and were unable to predict how they would react should a problem be discussed.

The survey also revealed:

  • 16-24 year-olds were the least optimistic when it came to suggesting what their employer would do if they admitted to an addiction – 31% would expect the boot
  • 55+ were most likely to keep their addiction support a secret (14%)
  • Almost half (49%) of people aged 55+ were the least worried about an addiction impacting future job prospects
  • 24% of 16-24 year-olds thought their employers would put them on a final warning if they admitted to suffering from an addiction

Port of Call founder Martin Preston commented on the report findings:

“Most people who call us are in full-time employment and don’t want their employer to know they have an addiction problem, often for fear of losing their job. Addiction is a shame-based illness and people can have a fear of being ‘found out’.

“We also take calls from employers who are trying to help a colleague, and often, even those with large HR and people teams, are unclear about what the firm’s stance really is.
“Most organisations have a zero- tolerance policy around alcohol and drug use, which they require for health and safety, yet rarely have awareness of, or access to, specialist addiction treatment services.

“Some firms, thankfully, are more progressive and we’re retained by a number of larger employers who genuinely want to help their people. If you’re employing more than ten people, addiction is an issue that you’re almost certain to encounter.”

Author: Editorial Team

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