Half of UK workforce could be off with swine fluUp to half of the UK’s workforce could be absent if a second wave of the swine flu pandemic hits the country, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) has warned, which could leave businesses facing absence management problems.

As a result, the CIPD and the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) have advised organisations to ensure they have a contingency plan in place to allow them to carry on with their operations should their staff become ill.

Research by the BCI revealed that 57 per cent of employers had no such contingency plan – or a weak one – in place should the pandemic hit again.

And it claimed that while the Cabinet Office notes that absence rates should only hit 12 per cent, this does not account for school closures, which could see parents having to take time off.

Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser at the CIPD, said: “We believe all businesses should plan for a worst case scenario, where staff absence rates reach 50 per cent.”

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies recently stated that contract and commission workers with swine flu were refusing to take time off during the recession.