Feds to Employers: Encourage Flu-Ridden Workers to Stay Home

August 20, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - With a new flu season looming, government officials are asking employers to let sick and at-risk employees stay home.

A news release fromDepartment of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said the recommendations are part of guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help employers get ready for the 2009 H1N1 influenza season this fall and winter.

Other recommendations issued by Locke, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano include, according to the news release:

  • Employers should review sick leave policies and ensure employees understand them. Policies calling for a doctor’s note in the case of illness should be waived during flu season.
  • Employers should make sick leave policies flexible for workers who may have to stay home with ill family members or if a child’s school is closed.
  • Employers should consider offering the vaccine against seasonal flu, and encourage employees to be vaccinated against seasonal and H1N1 flu.
  • Employers also might cancel non-essential face-to-face meetings and travel, and space employee workstations farther apart, the report says.
  • Regular and frequent hand washing should be encouraged as well as routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.

“The President has mobilized the federal government to get America prepared,” Locke said in the news release. “But government can’t do it alone. For this effort to be successful, we need the business community to do its part.”

More information about the government flu recommendations is available here .