Allowing people to drink for longer has led to an increase in the number of workers calling in sick, researchers have found.

Workplace absenteeism rose marginally by 1.7 per cent since the government introduced "24 hour drinking" in England and Wales in 2005.

Introducing the change, Labour ministers said that no longer forcing pub-goers to finish drinks before 11pm would lead to more relaxed, Continental-style drinking. Colin Green and María Navarro Paniagua of Lancaster University’s Economics Department  studied the impact on workplaces for the report, “Play Hard, Shirk Hard? The Effect of Bar Hours Regulation on Worker Absence”.

They compared worker absences in England and Wales after the change with Spain, where opening hours were reduced over the same period. The authors concluded that in England and Wales “longer opening hours increased absenteeism, while in Spain shorter opening hours reduced absenteeism”.