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
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.