Don’t Drop Your Guard on Swine Flu
Employers have dropped their guard over swine flu when they should be preparing for staff absence rates of up to 50 per cent this autumn, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has warned.
Research from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) also found that 57 per cent of employers have either ‘weak’ plans in place or no plans at all to deal with the swine flu pandemic.
Cases of swine flu are expected to increase as children return to school over the next few weeks.
CIPD senior policy adviser, Ben Wilmott, said that the high absence figure was a “worst-case scenario”, based on combining Government swine flu statistics with other types of absence, such as seasonal colds, and parents being forced to take time off to care for sick dependants.
But he warned businesses to stay alert to the risk of rising numbers of swine flu cases over the coming months.
“There is a danger that senior management teams ignore the threat, after seeing the first wave subside much more quickly than anticipated,” said Wilmott.
“There is also a risk that the virus could change and become more virulent leading to higher infection and absence rates than anticipated,” he added.
“For small firms, success on managing a swine flu pandemic depends on rigorous planning,” said Wilmott. “Businesses needed to think about supply chain and customer issues as well as the risk of large-scale absence.”
Firms should keep abreast of Government advice and public health guidance to pass on information to staff, as well as promote a healthy workplace and communicate swine flu plans with employees, customers and suppliers, according to the CIPD.
For further information on protecting your business against swine flu, visit the Direct.gov website.