Employers prepare for worst

Swine flu has organizations reviewing pandemic plans
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/19/2009

It’s early days for the onset of the H1N1 flu virus — also known as swine flu — in Canada but many employers have already started communicating with workers about the health risks and the possibility of a pandemic. Those organizations that still lack pandemic plans should start now, say industry experts.

The plans are important for more than just pandemics. They work for any kind of emergency, such as a terrorist attack, to help cope with the potential for high absenteeism and disrupted operations, said Diane Champagne, a Montreal-based principal for the health and benefits business at Mercer.

“Especially in the economic times we’re in now, employers can’t afford to have a high level of absenteeism when they may have already laid off people and may have just a sufficient number of people. It’s really making sure your people can continue,” she said. “Someone who doesn’t have a plan now should be thinking about one.”