2. Harms and costs of alcohol to the workplace

Read about the range of alcohol harms that impact on the workplace


Alcohol consumption has serious implications for both employers and employees in workplaces. This can range from death and injury as a result of impairment, to absenteeism, lost productivity and general low workforce morale.

  • Every year, 147,500 adults take one or more days off work or school due to their alcohol use [39].
  • A total of 84,400 adults have experienced harmful effects on their work, study or employment because of alcohol [39].
  • In 2012, 6% of adolescent drinkers report having their work or school affected in the last year due to alcohol. Among those students living in the most deprived areas, 8% report problems with work or school (exacerbating existing inequities in outcomes) [40].

Loss of labour output to New Zealand Society

Labour cost for lost output accounted for around $1.8 billion in New Zealand society [18]. Three-fifths of this amount ($1.1 billion) was due to excess unemployment. This was followed by premature death ($0.46 billion) as a result of harmful alcohol use [18]. Over 80% of cost due to premature death were for males [18].

Loss productivity to employers

Male drinkers (4%) were 1.6 times more likely to absence from work or study than female drinkers (2.5%) [3]; and male drinkers (6.9%) were 1.4 times more likely to experience financial effects than female drinkers [2].