What should an employer do when a pandemic flu outbreak occurs at the workplace?

Author: Julie H. Cox

Pandemic flu outbreaks typically last six to eight weeks and then could repeat for three to four months. The chaos and panic that occur with a pandemic must be handled in a professional, timely manner. It is recommended that people simply stay home during this time if they or a family member has the illness. Communication measures must be in place to make certain that employees know what is expected of them.

An employer should have an emergency plan in place that answers these major questions:

  • Which employees will have to come in to work to run the workplace versus which should work from their homes?
  • How many days can the business be closed without major financial loss?
  • What is the communication plan for employees to learn whether to come to work or not (e.g., phone number, website)?
  • What should the employer do for employees that have already caught the illness?