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May 26, 2009
Most Employers Lack Pandemic-Focused Comp and Absence Policies

A vast majority of employers have no policies for compensation and absences in the event of a pandemic flu, according to a survey by and

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The survey found that only 19 percent of employers say they have policies for compensation and absences in the event of a pandemic flu.

While there is currently no pandemic, health officials are concerned that the H1N1 flu (swine flu) could result in one.

Because of the outbreak of the H1N1 flu, the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the pandemic alert to Phase 5, one phase below that of a pandemic. A designation of Phase 6 would indicate that a global pandemic is under way.

If a pandemic does occur, employers will play a key role in protecting employees' health and safety as well as limiting the negative effects on the economy and society.

The federal government recommends that employers take a number of steps to prepare for a possible pandemic, such as establishing policies for employee compensation and sick-leave absences unique to a pandemic (e.g. non-punitive, liberal leave).

You can find more of the federal government's recommendations in the Business Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist, which is also available in's Pandmeic Planning Resource Center.

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