Are Workplace Flu Vaccination Program Worth the Financial Investment this Winter? May 7th, 2010, by Ken Buckley

Flu vaccinations are now standard procedure across the world, in businesses and in personal health. One of the turning points in the take-up of flu vaccinations was April 2010, when vaccination campaigns were launched simultaneously in 112 countries and territories in the World Health Organization Regions.

The goals were to expand immunisation coverage and raise awareness of the importance of the vaccines. Presidents and prime ministers, first ladies, health ministers, and ambassadors all got on board.

There is of course an important financial rationale behind this global flu vaccination campaign. It has been estimated that millions of workdays are lost each year because of influenza. Recent studies conducted in America put the direct cost of influenza epidemics to the US economy at US$ 80-160 billion per year.

In Australia, absenteeism due to influenza costs businesses more than two billion dollars each year. There is no doubt that the influenza virus thrives in the office environment, and each winter one in four of your employees will become infected. The financial consequences include increase absenteeism, replacement and overtime costs; and lost or reduced sales and productivity.

From a corporate social responsibility (CSR) point of view, employers have an important role to play in reducing the incidence of the flu amongst their staff. And in addition to the social responsibility, research shows that it is also a cost-effective method for employers to maintain their employees’ health and productivity.

Four reasons to provide your staff with a flu vaccination campaign as part of your corporate health program:

  1. Reduce absenteeism due to illnesses by 36 per cent
    Flu vaccine reduces the chance of your employees catching the flu and therefore decreases the amount of sick leave by at least 36 per cent.
  2. Increase productivity
    When an employee has to miss work due to illness, not only does it affect his/her own productivity but also his or her colleagues’.
  3. Contribute to your employer of choice status
    By offering a flu vaccination campaign as part of your corporate health program, you show your staff that you care about them, and about their health and wellbeing. Not only does it enhance your image but it also boosts morale and improves staff attraction and retention.
  4. Better return on investment (ROI)
    The influenza vaccination campaign is one of the most validated health interventions that you, as an employer, can focus on for a better ROI, as the figures behind the costs and benefits are so clear.

2014 Update: Healthworks has a great flat rate on workplace flu vaccinations. Just $19 for metro and $22 for non-metro, plus discounts for large sites. Find out more here.

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