Employers should revisit sick-days policy in light of H1N1: Experts

Health officials encourage workers to stay home if sick with cold or flu

The global H1N1 pandemic has public health officials advising people to stay home from work if they have flu- or cold-like symptoms.

"People who are sick should remain home, even when they have a cold," said Ontario's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Arlene King.

Those with flu symptoms should stay home for seven days following the onset of symptoms, while those with colds should stay home until they are better, usually less than a week, she said.

These directives are resulting in increased absenteeism rates, according to Shepell-fgi, a firm providing health and productivity services to employers.

As such, employers should reconsider sick-day policies to offer more flexibility on sick notes and more opportunities for employees to work from home, Karen Seward, a vice-president at Shepell-fgi, told the Toronto Star.

It is particularly important for health-care workers to stay home if they are sick, even with a cold, said Dr. Allison McGeer, head of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital.

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