H1N1 won’t stop workers: Survey

Many Quebec employers unprepared for pandemic
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/02/2009

Many employees in Quebec would still show up for work even if they had the H1N1 flu virus, according to a survey.

The Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA), Quebec’s HR association, surveyed 1,000 Quebec workers and found 24 per cent would still go to work if they or a household member had the H1N1 flu virus.

This attitude is even more prevalent among men, with 33 per cent reporting they would go to work if they or a relative caught the virus, compared to 15 per cent of women. However, 44 per cent of respondents would be afraid to go to work if a co-worker or someone in his household had the virus.

Many employers in Quebec are unprepared for a flu pandemic, with 45 per cent of respondents reporting their employers hadn’t introduced any preventive measures to cope with a possible H1N1 flu pandemic. Nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) said H1N1 isn’t a concern for their employers.

“Without wishing to create a climate of panic and uncertainty, it’s important to point out how crucial it is for employers to introduce an emergency plan for dealing with a pandemic. At the same time, they should also promote prevention measures and make sure employees are aware of the importance of minimizing the risk of contamination,” said Florent Francoeur, president and CEO of CRHA.

Despite the threat of a flu pandemic, 53 per cent of respondents said they hadn’t changed their personal habits, such as washing their hands, coughing into their elbows or using a hand sanitizer.

Quebec workers tend to go to work when they’re sick, with 59 per cent of respondents reporting they have gone to work even when they don’t feel well.

“We’ve already noted that employees in Quebec tend to show up at work even when they’re ill. They don’t seem to be sufficiently aware of the risks of such behaviour which, in the end, benefits neither the employee nor the employer and definitely should be stopped,” said Francoeur.

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