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Smokers Cost Employers More

Employers have to pay almost $6,000 more a year to employ a member of staff who smokes compared to a non-smoking employee, says research by the Tobacco Controljournal. U.S. researchers found that several factors ‒ including absenteeism, smoking breaks, and healthcare costs ‒ contribute to the greater cost to the employer for having a smoker on staff. Previous studies have found that smoking by employees costs businesses money because of smoking-attributable productivity losses and medical expenditures, but estimates have been vague and did not distinguish between costs borne by employers and those absorbed by others – the smokers themselves, insurance companies, or taxpayers. Calculations showed that low productivity due to excess absenteeism costs employers, on average, $517 a year per smoking employee; presenteeism costs $462; smoking breaks cost $3,077; and excess healthcare costs $2,056. However, because smokers tend to die at a younger age than non-smokers, annual pension costs were an average of $296 less for an employee who smoked. The total estimated additional cost to the employer came to $5,816.

Courtesy of Benefits and Pensions Monitor website News Alerts

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