UK businesses should prepare for staff absence rates of up to 50% for periods of between two and four weeks in their contingency planning arrangements for the expected second wave of swine flu.
This is the top-line advice in joint guidance from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) as schools return from the summer — a factor which some health experts |believe could help trigger the expected second wave of swine flu.
The new guide, Risk and Business Continuity Management, makes it clear that in the event of a widely predicted second and more serious wave of swine flu, many businesses will see a significant increase in absence rates beyond those enforced through illness alone, with possible widespread closures of school and childcare facilities.
However, research by the BCI shows that the majority of employers (57%) have no or weak plans to deal with a swine flu pandemic.
Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser at CIPD, said: “There is a real danger that senior management teams ignore the threat to their |business posed by a second and more serious wave of swine flu after seeing the first wave subside much more quickly than anticipated.”