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If your employees are human they are prone to fall under the spell of the flu epidemic which strikes every Winter in the UK so why not take the initiative and provide your employees with the flu jab for free in 2011. It will improve their lives and your working environment and outputs.

There are some indirect benefits too…. if customers associate your office with a flu free zone they will warm to you for being so well organised and for providing a germ-free service.

I’m not kidding! I swear that the lady behind the counter at our local Spar shop gave me the damn flu while coughing and spluttering as she totted up the contents of  my shopping basket. Call me petty but I now shop at Co-op!

If employees refuse to have the jab then you cannot force them to do so, but you will be within your rights to tell them that they cannot attend work if they have flu symptoms which means they will not be paid (subject to your contractual sick pay and statutory payment schemes).

But rather than using a stick, it may be worth trying the carrot approach. Get your employees together; tell them your plans and ask them to discuss the pros and cons of the policy. I’m sure you will find that peer pressure brings everyone to their senses. But do it now while the horror of having flu over the Christmas period is still fresh in their minds.  More info from NHS Direct

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