Over the past few weeks the CDC and WHO have been keeping an eye on the Swine Flu Pandemic. Are you??? If you are an HR professional, responsible for creating policy and procedure, it is important for you to have something in place. Do you have a Communicable Diseases Policy in place? How about Health & Safety Guidelines for your employees? If the answer is, “No.” Now is the time to get moving on a plan! Why? Imagine if your employees say, “I’m not coming in to work. I’m afraid of getting the Flu…” Or, what if you have an employee with the Swine Flu who insists on coming to work–sick? That employee will be creating an unsafe work area for the rest of the employees. And, guess what…THAT can become an OSHA issue and would most likely cause you to incur Workers’ Comp claims.
A Communicable Disease Policy that prohibits employees from coming to work with flu-like symptoms is a good strategy. Consult your legal counsel and get a policy put into place quickly. Also, develop Health & Safety guidelines that outline what protection steps employees must take vs. what the company will take. This type of document will educate employees as to when they should begin limiting attending meetings, traveling, etc. and when to begin exercising social distancing practices. Also, it will provide managers and employees with information on what steps the company will take in the event the Pandemic hits the company in the form of absenteeism. According to the CDC, employers can expect to see as much as up to 40% absenteeism. Don’t wait until a good portion of your employees are out of work before you implement a plan.