Hung-over staff cost businesses $453 million

by 03 Aug 2010

Hung-over employees could be costing Australian businesses around $453 million in overtime every single year.

A new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia has found that covering for colleague’s hangovers has become commonplace, with one third of workers saying they knew a co-worker who often drank a lot

Eight per cent said they had been negatively affected by that colleague's habit during the previous year.

Researcher Michael Livingston, of the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, said the survey of 1,677 adult workers also found that three per cent of these employees had worked extra hours to compensate for their hung-over colleagues' lethargy. The average overtime was about 48 hours a year.

Livingston and co-author Caroline Dale said the estimated cost of this overtime was about $453 million annually when average pay rates were considered.

''While our estimate of the cost to co-workers of alcohol use by heavily drinking colleagues is large, it may represent the tip of the iceberg,'' the researchers wrote.

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