An outline posted at www.flu.gov recommends that employers ‘establish policies for employee compensation and sick-leave absences unique to a pandemic.’ Preparations for an outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus this fall could give momentum to legislation that would require employers to provide paid sick days.
Even with the government urging companies to keep sick workers at home, the measure faces significant legislative obstacles. But advocates are using the flu scare to promote the bill. Titled the Healthy Families Act, it would enable workers to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work up to a total of 56 hours, or seven days.
Providing days off is exactly what the government is asking companies to do if their employees catch the flu. An outline posted at www.flu.gov recommends that employers “establish policies for employee compensation and sick-leave absences unique to a pandemic.”
The Food and Drug Administration has approved 4 vaccines against the H1N1 flu virus (formerly known as swine flu) for 2009. The FDA expects the vaccines to be distributed nationally in October.
Based on preliminary data from adults participating in clinical studies, the 2009 H1N1 vaccines induce a robust immune response in most healthy adults 8 to 10 days after a single dose, as occurs with the seasonal influenza vaccine.
As with the seasonal influenza vaccines, the 2009 H1N1 vaccines are being produced in formulations that contain thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, and in formulations that do not contain thimerosal. The FDA said that people with severe or life-threatening allergies to chicken eggs, or to any other substance in the vaccine, shouldn't be vaccinated.
The EEOC has issued guidance to help employers ensure that they remain ADA-compliant while addressing workplace needs in preparing for the 2009 H1N1 flu virus (swine flu) or a similar health situation. It includes guidance on such issues as what types of disability-related questions are permitted, what type of medical examinations are legal, and what kinds of reasonable accommodations could be required should a pandemic flu situation arise. The EEOC guidance is available at: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/h1n1_flu.html.