During winter, employers usually see an uptick in workers getting sick, whether with the flu, common cold or some other illness. Sick workers may still come into work to stay on top of deadlines, ensure their positions are still secure, etc. The problem is that doing so puts their co-workers at risk—and can prolong their own recovery.
That’s why the Ontario Medical Association is trying to encourage workers who are sick to stay home from work.
Association president Dr. Scott Wooder said, “I can’t stress it enough going to work while sick is bad for you and potentially worse for your colleagues. Staying home to rest will help you to manage your illness and prevent others from getting infected.”
The flu in particular is highly contagious. Viruses are spread because people touch surfaces and then touch their faces, other objects and other people.
Wooder explained that employers should encourage workers to stay home when sick—and not require them to get doctors’ notes, which has a discouraging effect and forces patients into the doctor’s office where they may spread germs to those in the waiting room.
Read more about the impact of so-called “presenteeism” on the workplace.
Of course, one way to keep sick workers out of the workplace is to help them avoid getting ill in the first place.
The OHS Insider’s Pandemic & Flu Planning Compliance Centre has lots of information to help you do so, including:
- An infographic you can hang in your workplace to educate workers on the flu and flu prevention tips
- A Spot the Safety Violation on proper coughing etiquette
- A checklist to help you set up a flu shot clinic in the workplace (because it’s not too late to get vaccinated).