Stay informed and ready to meet both everyday challenges and long-term planning and policy-making goals, with focused news, practical information, and strategic insights on all HR-related developments.
Sept. 9 — Employers can, and should, take a proactive approach to seasonal flu to avoid incurring substantial costs in lost productivity, a corporate wellness services provider asserts.
According to Omaha, Neb.-based TotalWellness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates almost 111 million workdays are lost every year because of seasonal influenza, at a cost to employers of $7 billion. Outbreaks “can begin as early as October,” the company noted in an Aug. 27 press release.
Although there are many more flu vaccine options than there used to be, “most employers are sticking with the lowest cost alternative, which doesn't give them the best protection,” Alan Kohll, founder and CEO of TotalWellness, said in a Sept. 4 interview with Bloomberg BNA. Trivalent vaccines, which protect against the three strains of seasonal flu scientists believe will be most prevalent in any given year, are often the cheapest, but are subject to shortages as vaccine manufacturers increasingly replace them with quadrivalent vaccines (which, as the name suggests, protect against four flu strains), Kohll explained.
“It may be $10 more per shot for one more strain, but you're offering your employees 25 to 30 percent better protection,” he said.
Employers that offer employees flu shots on the premises typically get about 35 percent participation, which is not great but is certainly better than the 10 percent uptake on employees offered vouchers to go to a pharmacy or clinic, Kohll said.
Employee education to combat persistent myths about flu vaccines causing the flu can further increase participation, he added.
The TotalWellness press release included such additional tips as:
• improve office's hygiene practices;
• review policies for paid time off, sick leave and telecommuting;
• communicate to employees about the signs and symptoms of the flu, flu shot myths, sick time policies, wellness plans and flu shot clinic dates and times;
• have a contingency plan in place to help maintain normal business operations if key employees are out sick or other disruptions occur; and
• ensure that employees are aware of company health plan details and that they know whom to call with questions.
To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at email@example.com
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)