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Are employers right to call time on daytime drinking?

Lloyd's of London have banned their staff from drinking at work. 

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Lloyd's of London have banned their staff from drinking at work. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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Most people would not consider abstaining from alcohol during office hours an extreme measure, but at one distinguished financial institution a new ban on daytime drinking has been met with anger.

Lloyd’s of London has told staff anyone caught boozing between 9am and 5pm could face the sack for gross misconduct.

Founded in 1688, the insurance market acknowledged the City of London has “historically had a reputation for daytime drinking”, but said the demands of the modern world mean alcohol is off the lunch menu.

According to the Evening Standard, incensed staff shared their indignation at the new restriction on an online forum.

One said it made Lloyd’s the “PC capital of the world”, while another asked: “Will we be asked to go to bed earlier soon?”

An internal memo seen by the paper said the policy, which applies to 800 employees of Lloyd’s – but not the brokers or underwriters from other companies based at the market – aligned the firm with many of its competitors.

“The London market historically had a reputation for daytime drinking but that has been changing and Lloyd’s has a duty to be a responsible employer, and provide a healthy working environment.

“A zero limit is therefore simpler, more consistent and in line with the modern, global and high performance culture that we want to embrace.”

A Lloyd’s spokesman told the Standard: “Our employee guidance was recently updated and provided clarification on the Corporation’s position on drinking alcohol during the working day, which is prohibited.”

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