Some businesses could be unable to run if they have not developed robust contingency plans to deal with swine flu, the CIPD has warned.
Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) told Personnel Today that contingency plans were essential to ensure a business’s survival, but the recession had distracted many HR teams.
“A high proportion of businesses have not got around to [contingency planning for swine flu] yet because they have other priorities like dealing with the recession. Also the standard response is ‘what can you do about it?’
“But the implications of failing to get it right could be very serious for individual businesses and their futures. Certainly some businesses could have to stop running.
“If you can’t do the business then you stand to lose income. It’s a survival issue.”
He said that small and medium sized businesses were the most likely to have no contingency plans, but would also be the worst affected if numbers of staff were off sick.
Emmott urged HR teams to act now to identify their key workers, and address delegation and training issues associated with having to cover those posts, because the creation of robust responses could take a few weeks.
He added that employers should also use this time to address a wider range of risks including fire, floods and power failures.
The CIPD has said the plan is “pragmatic” and employers have nothing to fear from the temporary provision, which is likely to be limited to six months.
Ben Willmott, CIPD senior public policy adviser, said: “Employers that manage absence and performance effectively and consistently have nothing to fear. The vast majority of absence is genuine and only a very small proportion of employees will seek to use this change in the self-certification rules to ‘pull a sickie’.”