Workplace flu vaccination programs have been proven to be a very wise investment for businesses. Influenza immunisation campaigns were first launched in April 2010 in 112 countries and territories in World Health Organization areas. The goals were to broaden vaccination coverage and increase awareness of the importance of immunisation. Many well known people, such as ambassadors, health ministers, prime ministers, first ladies and presidents are in support of this valuable programme.
This worldwide workplace flu vaccination campaign is financially driven because it is estimated that the flu causes millions of workdays are lost every year. Recently in the United States, researchers have shown that the cost of flu epidemics to the US economy is US$80 – 160 billion annually. Absenteeism due to flu costs Australian employers more than $2 billion each year.
It is common knowledge that the flu or influenza virus flourishes in office settings and in flu season, as many as one out of four employees will be affected. The result of these viruses includes reduced sales and productivity, increased absenteeism, replacement and overtime costs.
Immunisation is the most effective way to prevent this from happening, according to a media release put out by the World Health Organisation. This was also supported by Nicola Roxon, Australian Health Minister, in January 2012 when she said, “I urge Australians to protect themselves, their families and their community against the pandemic flu by getting a free flu vaccine as soon as possible.”
Employers have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) and should play a significant part in helping to decrease the prevalence of influenza amongst their employees. Aside from the social responsibility, research has shown that a workplace flu vaccination program is a good way for employers to keep their staff healthy and productive.
Four reasons to provide your staff with a flu vaccination services as part of your corporate health program:
1. Contribute to your employer of choice status.
When you offer a workplace flu vaccination program, you show your employees that you are thinking about their wellbeing and health. This can improve your staff attraction and retention rates, increase employee morale, and improve your image.
2. Increase productivity.
Absenteeism affects the productivity of many employees, not just that of the person who is absent.
3. Decrease absenteeism related to illness by 36 percent.
The amount of sick leave in your business can be reduced by at least 36 per cent because having a workplace flu vaccination program reduces the likelihood of your employees catching the flu.
4. Increased return on investment (ROI).
For an increased ROI, a business flu vaccination program is one of the best health related actions you can take as an employer. Consider this—a single vaccine can costs as little as AU$14.9 and is 80 per cent effective. In an organisation with 1000 staff members, that has a take up rate of 20 per cent of the total staff, and an average salary of AU$55,000 per employee, the total savings as a result of reduced absenteeism by five days per case prevented (a total of 24) is just over AU$25,000 or a ROI of well over 700%.