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Hangovers could cost $453m each year

By Balzafire, Aug 2, 2010 | |
  1. Balzafire
    COVERING for a colleague's hangover has become commonplace in Australian workplaces, costing an estimated $453 million in overtime every year, a new study has found.

    A survey of 1677 adult workers in 2008 found that one third knew a co-worker who often drank a lot, and 8 per cent 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 also found that 3 per cent of these employees had worked extra hours to compensate for their hungover colleagues' lethargy. The average overtime was about 48 hours a year.

    In an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia today, Mr Livingston and co-author Caroline Dale said the estimated cost of this overtime was about $453 million annually when average pay rates were considered. The real costs were likely to be significantly higher, they said.

    ''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.

    Mr Livingstone said the research was further proof that the government should introduce measures to reduce alcohol intake such as taxes on drinks according to alcoholic content.

    ''The Federal government's response to alcohol has been fairly minimal so far,'' he said.

    August 2, 2010


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