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Flu-related absence up 66% as employers are warned about swine flu effect


Staff absenteeism due to coughs, colds and flu-like symptoms is 66% higher than for the same period last year.

The last week in June has one in every 400 employees calling in sick with a cough, cold or flu-like symptoms. This is a significant increase from the annual average for the same period - around one in every 630 employees.

The figures are provided by absence management company FirstCare, which provides real-time data based on company records.

FirstCare chief executive Aaron Ross linked the rise in sickness levels to the swine flu pandemic: ‘Time really is beginning to run out for employers, swine flu is a pandemic and should be treated as such. Cases of H1N1 Swine flu across the UK are likely to increase further with the onset of autumn, so employers should put plans in place now in order to cope with possible increases in absence levels in September and October.’


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Readers' comments (2)

  • I think the above information will be an excellent reason for health care to absent themselves from work. After all, who can prove it? I feel the flu coming on as I write...

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  • Although some people will use the current swine flu situation as an excuse for a few days off work when there isn't anything wrong with them, it's important to remember that it's entirely appropriate for people that do have a flu-like illness to consult their GP and to follow any instructions they may be given to stay away from work until asymptomatic. Whilst most people with confirmed swine flu are only mildly unwell, there are a few individuals for whom (any) influenza is much more serious. It's important that they aren't unecessarily exposed to infectious cases who continue to work when they shouldn't.

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