Flu season could cost businesses

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The flu season in Kentucky is hurting some businesses. More than 5,000 cases have been reported in the state, and that translates into a lot of time off work while people try to get healthy.

"Right now they're expecting for over 25 million people to be out in the United States at least four eight-hour shifts," Brian Simmons, with CMI Consulting, said.

With 111 million work days expected to be missed across the country, WKYT's Caitlin Centner sat down with Simmons, who is a senior human resources adviser. He said these missed workdays have a direct impact on companies through decreased productivity and decreased revenue.

"It impacts the morale of the company," he said. "It can impact teamwork and the communication aspect, so it goes beyond just those direct costs. As far as maintaining the productivity, that will be difficult."

CMI is working on a training program to help businesses be more prepared to handle illness in the workplace.

Simmons said, "That incorporates things like looking at your time and attendance policies, looking at your family medical leave act compliance."

When asked what companies can do immediately, Simmons said to focus on what our health officials are already telling us to do.

"The hygiene, the washing of the hands, the sanitation and cleanliness of the office environment."

An estimated $4.6 billion is expected to be spent on direct costs of the flu nationwide. That includes hospital and doctor's visits and medications.

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