Winter is here and so are coughs and sneezes!

Unfortunately, it’s that time of year when staff come down with nasty colds, coughs and even the flu.  For those employees who are unfortunate enough to fall ill over the Christmas period, having a clear sickness absence policy that outlines who they need to call, how they should contact their manager, by what time they must notify their absence and the rules on production of Fit Notes is essential.

There are also a number of measures that employers can put in place to help reduce sickness absence levels at this time of the year.  It’s good practice, for example, to promote good hygiene practices in the workplace to avoid the spreading of germs.  Some employers also choose to offer their staff free flu jabs, which can either be arranged on-site, via an occupational health service provider, or through one of many voucher schemes operated by high-street chemists and supermarkets.  Be warned, however, that it seems that even when offered a free flu jab, a high proportion of employees may choose not to take it up.  It has been revealed, for example, that only just over 40% of NHS workers have had the vaccination, even though it is offered free of charge and reduces the risk of passing on any illness to vulnerable patients.

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