Hangovers at work inflict $2.43bn headache on UK economy

26 June, 2019 12:00 AM printer

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, report agencies.

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encourage the government to revise its official estimates of the cost of alcohol to society, which are now woefully out of date.