The effect of the H1N1 flu virus on the workplace appears to be lessening, according to a report from Statistics Canada.
The number of people who were absent from work due to the H1N1 or seasonal flu in December declined significantly from November, according to January's Labour Force Survey.
In December, 734,000 workers (4.4 per cent) aged 15 to 69 reported they were absent from work due to the H1N1 or seasonal flu. On average, each absent worker lost 18.3 hours of work, for a total of 13.4 million hours lost.
In November, nine per cent of workers each lost an average of 19.6 hours of work as a result of the flu, for a total of 29.5 million hours lost.
With so many workers affected by the flu, their healthy colleagues put in extra hours to make up for lost time. In December, 471,000 workers aged 15 to 69 put in 6.9 million extra hours at work.
The extra work resulted in a net loss of 6.5 million hours in December, down from the net flu-related loss of 20.9 million hours in November.
In December, 4.9 per cent of women reported work hours lost as a result of the flu, down from 10.5 per cent the month before. Among men, flu-related absenteeism fell from 7.6 per cent to four per cent. The age group most affected in December was workers aged 35 to 39, of whom 6.1 per cent were absent from work.
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