The Productivity Commission in Australia has used international studies to estimate that the cost of workplace bullying in Australia is between $6 billion and $36 billion annually.
This cost is around $250,000 per 100 full time employees.
According to the Productivity Commission direct costs to employers result from:
- staff turnover;
- legal and compensation costs; and
- redundancy and early retirement payouts.
Hidden direct costs include:
- management time consumed in addressing claims for bullying;
- investigating allegations of bullying through formal grievance procedures; and
- workplace support services such as counselling.
Other costs include the loss of productivity resulting from:
- reduced performance of victims who continue to work;
- replacing victims with initially less experienced and so less productive staff; and
- internal transfers, and loss or absenteeism of co-workers
Victims of bullying also bear significant costs. These costs can include:
- isolation and withdrawal;
- fear of dismissal or loss of job promotion opportunities;
- stress and anxiety;
- low self esteem;
- other mental health symptoms; and
- a number of physical symptoms.
Other costs to the economy include:
- public sector costs such as the health and medical services needed to treat bullied individuals;
- income support and other government benefits provided to victims of bullying who become unemployed; and
- the legal costs associated with pursuing formal complaints.
It has been estimated that between 2.5 million and 5 million Australians experience some aspect of bullying over the course of their working lives.
Source: Productivity Commission 2010, Performance Benchmarking of Australian Business Regulation: Occupational Health & Safety, Research Report, Canberra.
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