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Employers advised to ensure workplace plans in place to respond to potential swine flu pandemic

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Employers should ensure they have contingency plans in place in case the risk of a swine flu epidemic in the UK increases, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Senior Public Policy Advisor, Ben Willmott, advises that while it is important not to overstate the potential risk of a flu pandemic it makes sense for organisations to have plans in place if needed:

“Many employers will already have a policy on how to respond to a potential flu pandemic outbreak as a result of the heightened risk of bird flu over the last few years. Employers should have in place strategies to allow them to run on skeleton staff levels. Service/customer facing organisations should consider the possibilities for increasing the amount of online transactions, as well as self-service options for customers.

“All employers should think about maximising home working and investigate the potential for increasing the use of video-links and teleconferencing to help limit the amount of face-to-face contact. Organisations should also identify key roles that must be carried out and those individuals who have a wide range of skills who can fulfil more than one function.

“In case of a pandemic, employers should also formulate clear advice for staff on the symptoms of the virus and the importance of staying at home and seeking medical advice at the soonest opportunity.”

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)is the United Kingdom’s leading professional body for those involved in the management and development. They have 130,000 individual members and their objectives are to lead in the development and promotion of good practice in the field of the management and development of people, for application both by professional members and by their organisational colleagues