Our organisation is in the construction industry, which requires workers be free from the effects of drugs or alcohol, and present a negative test result. We are trying to confirm our rights if an employee provides a non-negative result. Can we stand them down without pay (with the option to access personal leave), as they are considered unfit for work? Or would we have to stand them down on pay as we are directing them not to attend the workplace?
Generally, an employee cannot be stood down without pay if they are able to be usefully employed. If the business has a zero tolerance approach to positive alcohol or drug tests, the relevant policy should outline the disciplinary consequences the employee will be exposed to. These can include being sent home on paid suspension, or at the employee’s choice of annual or personal leave.