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Self certs to be extended to two weeks


If not sick will you take advantage of this potential new measure to have an extra 2 weeks holiday?  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. If not sick will you take advantage of this potential new measure to have an extra 2 weeks holiday?

    • Yes thats an extra 2 weeks off me!
    • No i will only take it if i am ill

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With the public being told not to go to their GP or Hospitals with Swine flu they cant get a doctors note so the government are bringing in emergency measures.

I am still putting our Pandemic plan together and with the research i have done this winter looks bleak.


Employees will be allowed to authorise their own sick leave for as much as two weeks if government proposals to contain the swine flu pandemic go ahead, Personnel Today has exclusively revealed.

Noel O'Reily, editor of Personnel Today's sister title Occupational Health discusses whether an extension to sickness self-certification during the swine flu pandemic is the best thing to do.

The Department of Health (DoH) is "actively considering" doubling the amount of time staff sign themselves off sick from work from seven to 14 days so the employees do not need to get a doctor's note.

But employers' groups have warned employees could "abuse" the system and see the changes as a 'freedom pass' to taking two weeks off work with relatively little consequences. Particularly as typical flu cases last about seven days, according to experts.

The proposals are being considered by government departments, including the DoH. If they are put in place, they are likely to be in force for a six-month period only.

But employers are unlikely to be consulted on the changes because they will come in as an emergency measure, an industry insider has revealed. Nor will the changes require a new law, so could be implemented immediately.

A DoH spokesman said the proposals were "actively being considered".

"We are in a treatment phase [with swine flu]. It's not so widespread that it has reached that point where so many people are off work that it's needed. We don't know how it's going to play out," he told Personnel Today.

He dismissed the claim that employers would not be consulted on the new measures, adding that they had already been involved as part of the "pandemic preparedness" in the run up to the guidance being agreed on. "It's not something that will just be thrust on employers," the spokesman said.

But an industry source in regular contact with the government told Personnel Today: "As this will be an emergency measure, designed to free up medical resources and reduce the spread of swine flu in GP surgeries, there will be no advance consultation with employers before implementation."

Employers' groups admitted that short-term measures to contain swine flu were likely to be necessary.

Neil Carberry, head of employment policy at the CBI, said: "The CBI have had a number of discussions with the Department of Health about this and other issues. It's clear that we don't know what the scale of the peak of pandemic flu that we expect in third and fourth quarter of this will be. If it is very significant, it's likely that temporary measures will have to be taken, and short-term changes like this are among the options."

He added: "Employers need to be thinking through their business resilience plans in the face of threat of pandemic. The impact of a pandemic outbreak is going to be the significant threat to employers... not necessarily some of the temporary measures."

Flu pandemic contingency plan

Health and safety:

Swine Flu white paper

But Sayeed Khan, chief medical adviser at manufacturers body the EEF, warned some employees could abuse the system. "Let's be realistic here, some employees will abuse this. At worse, they'll be off for 14 days without justification. There is no reason why people shouldn't come back within the 14 days once they feel fit and well after they finish the course of treatment."

Noel O'Reilly, editor of Personnel Today's sister title Occupational Health, warned it seemed "excessive" to allow employees 14 days off work for flu cases, which typically last less time.

"Fourteen days seems excessive considering the length of time for flu symptoms is usually considerably less. We have to consider whether this will encourage employees to take extra days' sick leave," he said. There is also the added complication of quarantine periods, so as well as staff taking two weeks off, they could take an extra five days for that reason."

So far 7,447 UK cases of swine flu have been confirmed since April 2009, according to the latest DoH figures. However, the newest cases are no longer being measured.

Earlier this year, Personnel Today learned a swine flu outbreak in the UK could cost employers £1.5bn a day, with up to a quarter of the country's workforce potentially going off sick.

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Its a joke people are just going to take the piss. I overheard a few staff at work discussing this and the fact a few people in Burton have been hit by swine flu and they are going omg I've got a sore throat, ithink i've got a temprature-Idiots !

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I still don't get people who constantly skive off of work. I couldnt do it, maybe its the industry I work in, but having a day off sick means that you are just dropping your colleagues in the shit as your work still needs to be done whether you are there or not.

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I still don't get people who constantly skive off of work. I couldnt do it, maybe its the industry I work in, but having a day off sick means that you are just dropping your colleagues in the shit as your work still needs to be done whether you are there or not.

I agree, but there are many places where people don't share this view. It's like they are "owed" the maximum sick pay entitlement, and feel they have a right to take it whether sick or not.

Not very high up my list of people to hang on to at all costs, I can tell you.

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I'm allowed 20 vacation days off a year, if I am sick my work forces me to use days from this pool. As you can imagine 20 isn't a lot when you want to go home at least once a year and even one sick day out of the office might cost me my only opportunity to visit Villa Park that year. So what do I do? If I'm sick and can get out of bed you bet your ass I go to work, to **** with infecting others.

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People who take 2 weeks off with swine flu and then actually get swine flu may find themselves in an awkward spot with their employers.

I'm self employed, but wouldnt do it anyway.

You can actually get it twice if it decides to mutate. We had our first case at work yesterday and i havent even finished our plan yet so am doing a contigency for a contingency at the moment :lol:

Big problem we have now is that the red tops are getting bored with the MP fiddling story and once they get their teeth in to this they will be sending the country into panic which mean panic buying and much more and we are not even into autumn when this is really going to kick off.

Some of the HR sites i am looking at are predicting up to 75% absenteesm if this 2 week self cert comes in but the problem is that if you cant go to the doctors to even get a doctors note what are you to do.

They are not consulting businesses over this and you can bet your ass that they will be screaming loud enough to maybe make them think again.

75% of staff off in Mcdonalds means that you you wont get a burger 75% of staff off at the council (who i must say are the worst for the sick/holidays) means no waste collection and that is just one public service.

If anybody needs any advice on contingency planning i have powerpoint i have put together.

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