A total of 7.6 million working days are lost in the UK because of flu each year, costing the economy £1.35 billion, according to The Co-operative Pharmacy chain.
The group’s survey of more than 3,000 people concluded that flu accounted for the most number of days lost (1,141) among short-term illnesses last year. After flu, the next two most common reasons for absence were colds (804 days) and stomach upsets (658 days).
In an effort to help employers and self-employed workers tackle this issue, the pharmacy chain has launched a flu vaccination service aimed at working people.
The Co-operative Pharmacy clinical services manager Fiona Caplan-Dean said: “Normally only at-risk groups are offered the vaccination by the NHS but as a cooperative business we believe every-one should have the opportunity to take preventative measures against the virus to minimise the impact on business.
“Missed meetings that disrupt work schedules during short-term illness can also have a knock-on effect for the wider workforce, for example low morale. The cost of sickness for employers, therefore, is more than just statutory sick pay, but if you are self-employed the consequences can be more far-reaching,” she said.
The company is offering on-site vaccinations to businesses with more than 100 employees or in-branch vaccinations, with each vaccination costing £11.