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Hungover or stressed workers cost €1.5bn

HUNGOVER workers and staff with personal problems are costing Irish industry more than €1.5bn a year - and it is now a bigger problem than absenteeism.

The revelation came as employers' body IBEC said that while absenteeism rates have fallen during the recession, firms are taking the problem of under-performing workers and their effect on productivity very seriously.

Studies by the Harvard Business Review found that workers being unable to perform properly in their employment due to personal issues ranks as a bigger problem than them not turning up.

The studies found the loss of productivity can be as high as 33pc on Mondays and Fridays - the worst days of the week for staff personal problems.

They also found a direct link between the loss of productivity and personal problems including binge drinking, drug abuse, emotional problems due to relationship difficulties, stress due to financial problems and depression.

Productivity expert Deirdre Cronnelly of business motivational company Afresh said US and UK findings reflect precisely the same problem in Ireland where new research is desperately needed.


"All the research indicates that binge drinking is getting worse in Ireland and it would be foolish to suggest that doesn't impact on the workplace," Ms Cronnelly said.

"The reality is that this is already a very big issue in Ireland. Workers don't just leave their problems at the door on a Monday morning."

Absenteeism costs Irish industry more than 11 million lost days each year.

That equates to a yearly cost of €1.5bn, but under-performing staff cost industry more.