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Reports of a possible swine flu pandemic have already led to an increase in absenteeism across the UK, it has been claimed.
There have so far been 8 confirmed UK cases of the virus, which has been responsible for over 150 deaths in Mexico. However, British workers with flu-like symptoms have stayed at home in greater numbers this week because of fears fuelled by media reports, says absence management specialist FirstCare.
The CIPD has advised employers to be ready to respond to a potential swine flu pandemic, and should put in place strategies which allow them to operate on skeleton staff levels if there is an outbreak of the virus. Companies are already reviewing their business continuity plans, and some organisations have the potential to utilise home working.
The UK government has said it is well prepared to deal with an outbreak of swine flu and advised against all but essential travel to Mexico.