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Severe flu season carries employment law concerns

by on
in HR Management,Human Resources

American businesses are also suffering during this flu season—the worst in dec­­ades. The CDC estimates that seasonal flu outbreaks, on average, cost employers $10.4 billion in direct health care costs and billions more in productivity.

Tip: It’s not legally wise to require employees to get a flu shot. They may have legitimate religious, disability or privacy objections. Read more advice in "Can we require employees to get flu shots?"

Another timely question: Does having the cold or flu qualify an employee for FMLA leave? In most cases, no. FMLA regulations say, “unless complications arise, the common cold and the flu … are examples of conditions that do not merit the definition of serious health condition.” (29 C.F.R. § 825.113(d))

But if the flu forces an employee to be incapacitated for more than three days, and he sees a doctor and receives an antibiotic, it’s possible the employee may meet the qualification. Learn more in "With flu season here, know what FMLA covers."

For more information to help you and your employees prevent the flu, including printable materials on handwashing and the spreading of germs, go to the CDC website.

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