The Cost of a Drunk Employee.

The Cost of a Drunk Employee.

Having even one problem drinker on your medical plan – including a covered family member with abuse issues – can cost your corporation big.

Some estimates place the potential cost as high as $35,000 a year per case. What’ your company’s risk?

Many wellness programs are geared toward managing employees’ health risks associated with illnesses like diabetes or asthma.

But unless the wellness program is integrated with an employee assistance program (EAP), chances are alcohol abuse-related risks go undetected. Here are two strategies that’re getting good results.

1. Include alcohol in health testings

When you already sponsor confidential worker health-risk assessments, it’s easy to screen for alcohol risks, too. This can be as simple as making sure three questions are added to the current appraisal –

• How often do you’ve a drink containing alcohol?

• How many alcoholic drinks do you’ve on a average day? And

• How often in the last month have you had six or more drinks?

For male employees, more than 14 drinks per week, or one or more episodes of heavy drinking suggests a possible problem. for women, more than seven drinks in a week, or one or more episodes of drinking four or more drinks, is a red flag.

Alternative – If you don’t offer appraisals, you are able to refer employees to a free, confidential web-based screening.

Benchmarking tools

A lot of professionals say drug-free workplace policies and staff member assistance programs (EAPs) are the two most proven solutions within companies’ grasp for minimizing the risks and costs of alcohol abuse by health plan enrollees.

To see when sponsoring an employee assistance program makes financial sense, you can calculate your own firm’s current cost risk for free here. Plug in your business type, locale and number of staff members.

You’ll get a customized estimate of yearly direct (absenteeism, disability, ER visits) and indirect (presenteeism, turnover) costs from alcohol misuse by a covered worker or family member.

To design a drug-free workplace policy – or check if your existing one is up to par and compliant with the law – more guidance is available here.

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