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Hangovers at work inflict £1.4b headache on UK economy
[LONDON] Britain's economy suffers a 1.4 billion-pound (S$2.43 billion) cost from people coming to work either hungover or still drunk, according to a calculation served up by researchers.
The London-based Institute for Alcohol Studies used the findings of a survey of 3,400 UK employees, who on average judged themselves to be 39 per cent less effective when they persist in doing their job despite having had one too many at some point beforehand. The analysis factored that result together with average labour costs to reach the outcome on the economic damage.
The IAS said the government underestimates the overall economic cost of alcohol, because its own tally doesn't take into account "presenteeism" by drunk or hungover people insisting on coming to work despite their condition. Including hangovers on the job would bring the official measurement of economic damage to 8.7 billion pounds, the researchers said.
"Even among those drinking at less harmful levels, working through intoxication and hangovers can reduce productivity," said Aveek Bhattacharya, an analyst at the IAS who authored the report. "These findings should encourage the government to revise its official estimates of the cost of alcohol to society, which are now woefully out of date. Hopefully, these results will help shift the conversation on alcohol and the economy."
Higher-paid employees were more likely to come to work hungover or intoxicated, according to the survey. It found that 55 per cent of people earning over 60,000 pounds a year had previously done so, compared with 29 per cent of those bringing in under 10,000 pounds a year.