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When do after-work drinks become work-related functions?

Q: If staff bring their own alcohol to socialise after hours in the staffroom, is this still considered a work-related function because it is using the workplace as a venue?

The reasons given for wanting to have these social functions is so that department managers can reward staff, and build team and cross-department relations.

Should these after-hours get togethers still be governed by the workplace alcohol policy and treated as work-related functions?

A: It is likely that this will be classified as a work-related function because it is using the staffroom as the venue and it can be construed as a ‘casual after-work drinks’ event.

The key test is whether a reasonable person would consider the business to have endorsed or supported the activity. You noted that the department managers were open to this idea, which suggests that these functions are supported by the business.

Attendance at any social function or event held at the workplace, including during an ordinary recess or after hours would probably attract workers’ compensation coverage.

These events would normally be considered “for the purposes of employment”.

Therefore, the workplace alcohol policy is likely to be in force.

We recommend that you review chapter M2 Managing Work-Related Functions for more information.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Work functions for current advice.

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