Drug-free workplaces are a great way to boost your business. Sure, they offer advantages like increased productivity, less absenteeism, lower health care premiums and fewer safety concerns. However did you also know that maintaining a drug-free workplace can also bring financial incentives?
The Drug Free Act of 1998
In 1998, Congress took notice of the advantage of drug-free workplaces and the harm of substance abuse on individuals and organizations alike. In the act, they noted that:
74 percent of adults who use illegal drugs are employed; small business concerns employ over 50 percent of the Nation’s workforce; in more than 88 percent of families with children under the age of 18, at least 1 parent is employed; and employees who use and abuse addictive illegal drugs and alcohol increase costs for businesses and risk the health and safety of all employees.
Read the full 1998 Drug-Free Workplace Act
Incentives for drug-free workplaces
As a way to offer incentives to reduce substance abuse in the workplace, the Drug-Free Act included incentives for organizations complying with drug-free workplace policies.
“Grants and technical assistance in addition to financial incentives (may be provided) to enable small business concerns to create a drug-free workplace; assist working parents in keeping their children drug-free; and encourage small business employers and employees alike to participate in drug-free workplace programs.
The act involved offering incentives like
- a reduction in workers’ compensation premiums;
- a reduction in unemployment insurance premiums; and
- tax deductions in an amount equal to the amount of expenditures for employee assistance programs, treatment, or illegal drug testing
Eligible Drug-Free Workplace Programs
In order for an organization to be eligible, Congress mandated that drug-free workplaces have the following steps in place:
1. a written policy, including a clear statement of expectations for workplace behavior, prohibitions against reporting to work or working under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol, prohibitions against the use or possession of illegal drugs in the workplace, and the consequences of violating those expectations and prohibitions;
2. drug and alcohol abuse prevention training for a total of not less than 2 hours for each employee, and additional voluntary drug and alcohol abuse prevention training for employees who are parents;
3. employee illegal drug testing, with analysis conducted by a drug testing laboratory certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or approved by the College of American Pathologists for forensic drug testing, and a review of each positive test result by a medical review officer;
4. employee access to an employee assistance program, including confidential assessment, referral, and short-term problem resolution; and
5. continuing alcohol and drug abuse prevention education.
Implementing the Drug-Free Workplace Policy in Lawrence, KS
We’re thankful for the recognition by Congress to implement steps for a drug-free program and incentives for following it, too. While the war on drugs and illegal substances continues to rage on (even in Lawrence, KS), having the support of lawmakers and resources for drug-free implementation can help keep our workplaces drug-free.