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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wakelin

It’s Not Too Late to Prepare for Seasonal Sickness

The UK has been experiencing a record high of long term sickness absences. There were over 2.5 million people off work in May of this year, with an additional 438,000 not looking for work due to being so unwell (The Office of National Statistics, Nov, 2023).

That means in the last year, one in thirteen people have been off sick – and that’s not including seasonal sicknesses which is likely to increase the number of absences even further.


There is a COVID-19 and Flu Vaccination Scheme that has arrived earlier this year to pre-emptively help avoid further sickness, but there are still plenty of things employers, directors and managers can do to protect their staff. Though the UK is well on its way to a hybrid immunity, there are still new variants developing and now is not the time to be indifferent.


Is there any existing COVID-19 legislation?


The only remaining legislation introduced as a result of COVID is that annual leave can be carried over for up to two years – however, since restrictions have been lifted, there is a possibility this will be appealed.


What can employers do to protect their workforce?


In order to protect their workforce, employers will need to implement policies that suit the environment (both working and physical) and are adapted to protect staff. Some examples of this includes:

  • Requiring employees to inform them of a positive case of COVID and remain home until they test negative, as a precautionary measure to avoid spreading the disease.

  • Continuing to distance within the office and sanitise surfaces regularly.

  • Encouraging employees to get vaccinations for Flu and COVID, or boosters where appropriate.

  • Endorse seasonal Flexi Working (something which might require an HR consultant such as SWan HR to negotiate, as adapted work schedules or environments can be complicated).

  • Provide refresher training on what to do to limit spreading sickness, and absence procedures.

  • Going paperless.

This final suggestion allows some employees to work from anywhere, so long as they have access to the cloud storage of documents they need and a computer or phone to work from. It can be a great midpoint for those who are well enough to work but live with someone or have tested positive themselves with COVID.


Going paperless means adapting procedures across departments and can require heavy HR consultation to get right, but is worth the time and consideration. If you’d like to speak to SWan HR about how they can help, contact us here.


SWan HR Consultancy (London and Kent)


SWan HR is an HR consultancy that specialises in HR support for small to medium sized businesses in the South East.

"Where HR Succeeds, the Business Achieves"

SWan HR was founded by Susan Wakelin, MCIPD, who is a qualified HR professional with over thirty years' experience, from setting up, auditing and improving HR functions to management coaching and supporting organisations through difficult situations, transformation and change.


SWan HR provides a broad range of tailored HR services including an HR audit, HR advice, HR outsourcing, HR coaching and project work for all businesses.


Free HR consultation


Contact Susan Wakelin now to take advantage of a free half-hour consultation to talk through your initial HR concerns and how you can manage these going forward.

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