Job stress costs 709 mln USD from Australia's economy

11:18, October 06, 2010      

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Australian employers who pile up the pressure on their staff, while giving them too little in the way of resources, support or autonomy to do their jobs well, are costing themselves and the wider economy 730 million dollars (709 million U.S. dollars) annually, a new report found on Wednesday.

The report said an estimated 1.5 million workers have been diagnosed with depression from excessive job stress, costing businesses more than 8000 dollars (7770 U.S. dollars) per person every year.

Released on Wednesday, the VicHealth study defined job strain as the phenomenon caused by workers being under high pressure to perform when they had little control over their jobs.

An annual 730 million dollars (709 million U.S. dollars) figure on job strain includes the cost of government-subsidized mental health services and medications for depression. It also hurts businesses from lost productive time and employee replacement costs.

According to study co-author Tony LaMontagne, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, the 730 million dollars (709 million U.S. dollars) figure underestimated the real costs of workplace depression, because it does not include other risk factors from bullying, sexual harassment and job insecurity.

"These figures represent a significant burden on the Australian economy that is preventable by improving job quality," he said in a statement.

He said the study indicated there are economic incentives for workplaces to reduce job strain, on top of legal and ethical reasons.

"Employers would be the major beneficiaries of reducing job strain over the long term, because the greatest costs fall on employers due to lost productivity and employee replacement."

The report is funded by VicHealth and conducted by the University of Melbourne's School of Population Health and Tasmania 's Menzies Research Institute.

Source: Xinhua


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