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Employers took many measures to protect employees and avoid business impact of H1N1 flu outbreak
Date:6/22/2010

authorities during an outbreak," said Gillian K. Steelfisher, Research Scientist in the HSPH Department of Health Policy and Management and a member of the polling team. "Public health officials at federal, state and local levels should develop plans that specifically bring educational materials and preventive measures into the workplace."

A majority of employees, 77%, said their company provided them with information about how to keep H1N1 flu from spreading between employees at the workplace. Again, large companies were more likely than medium-sized companies (100 to 499 employees) or smaller companies (20 to 99 employees) to have provided this information (83% v. 72% and 65%, respectively).

More than a third of employees reported that their company provided them with information about changes to leave policies that would make it easier for them to stay home from work because they were sick (42%), because a family member was sick (38%), or because their children's school closed (36%). Similar percentages of employees reported that their company created a back-up system for someone to cover their work if they got sick (42%) or trained them to cover for someone else if they got sick or had to be absent due to H1N1 (36%).

Most employees (81%) reported that their company was prepared for the H1N1 outbreak (44% "very prepared," 37% "somewhat prepared"). Employees at large companies, with 500 or more employees, were more likely than employees at small companies, those with 20 to 99 employees, to say this (85% v. 73%).

Half of all employees (50%) say that this outbreak of H1N1 has made their company more prepared for a possible future outbreak of a serious, contagious illness.

About one in five (21%) employees got the H1N1 vaccine, mirroring rates in the general population. However, vaccination rates were significantly higher among employees whose companies encouraged them to get the vaccine than among employees whose compani
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Contact: Robin Herman
rherman@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-4752
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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