Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health have found that when employees are given a day or two of paid recovery time, the influenza virus spreads through the office at a much slower rate. “Giving employees one flu day resulted in more than a 25 percent decrease in influenza infections due to workplace transmission. A two flu-day policy resulted in a nearly 40 percent decrease. The researchers found that flu days were more effective for larger workplaces, defined as having 500 or more employees.” The results of the study are reported in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health and will be in the August print issue.
What’s the Big Idea?
Dr. Supriya Kumar, who led the study, wants further research to be conducted on the economic impact of giving employees paid flu-recovery days, defined as a twenty-four or forty-eight hour period of rest after an individual’s fever has broken. Besides saving other employees the agony of contracting the flu, giving workers recovery time could ultimately save more days off due to illness. Researchers say that recovery days, thanks to mobile technology, would not necessarily mean a drain a company’s productivity if, during those recovery days, employees were asked to continue their work from home.