Thursday, October 8, 2009

CDC encouraging businesses to prepare for H1N1

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is pressing employers to take precautionary steps that will help prevent against a disruptive flu season for business.

In a new email sent to business leaders, the CDC provides a number of links with information on vaccines and suggested practices for employers to implement.  The organization also provides some helpful FAQ's on H1N1, a preparedness guide for small business, Massachusetts specific information, and answers to HR questions on policies.

According to the CDC, here some actions employers should take now:
  • Review or establish a flexible influenza pandemic plan and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan;
  • Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected before flu season;
  • Have an understanding of your organization’s normal seasonal absenteeism rates and know how to monitor your personnel for any unusual increases in absenteeism through the fall and winter.
  • Engage state and local health department to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information;
  • Allow sick workers to stay home without fear of losing their jobs;
  • Develop other flexible leave policies to allow workers to stay home to care for sick family members or for children if schools dismiss students or child care programs close;
  • Share your influenza pandemic plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them;
  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts; and
  • Add a “widget” or “button” to your company Web page or employee Web sites so employees can access the latest information on influenza:
The Chamber will continue to provide employers with information from the CDC and other health organizations throughout the Flu season. 

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