Communities depend on businesses for goods and services, so it is important to keep employees healthy. Preventing illness among employees can help support business continuity of operations.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the flu. A vaccine is available each year for seasonal flu. A flu pandemic is an outbreak caused by a new flu virus that spreads worldwide. Since it is a new virus, it may take several months for manufacturers to develop a vaccine. Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including the use of flexible sick-leave policies, can be effective in slowing the spread of flu.
Below are 10 steps employers can take to help slow the spread of pandemic flu in the workplace through NPIs.
- Follow your local flu situation and school closures through close communication with state, tribal, local, and territorial public health officials.
- Encourage employees to get a seasonal flu vaccine and a pandemic flu vaccine as soon as they are available.
- Through education and the provision of supplies, encourage employees to take everyday preventive actions, including covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, staying home when sick, and cleaning surfaces and objects routinely.
- Cross-train employees to ensure coverage in case people need to stay home when sick.
- Separate sick employees from well employees, and send sick employees home as soon as possible.
- Implement more flexible sick-leave policies that encourage employees to stay home when sick or to care for sick family members.
- Discourage the use of perfect attendance incentives.
- Consider alternative work schedules and shifts that reduce the number of people working together.
- Consider holding meetings remotely to reduce contact between people.
- Offer employees the option to work from home.