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Tom LyonsPosted by:
Tom Lyons, Department of Public Health

Toolkitcover Today three Obama Administration cabinet secretaries announced the release of a business toolkit to help with preparedness for H1N1 flu.  Cabinet secretaries Locke (Commerce), Sebelious (HHS) and Napolitano (Homeland Security) stressed the need for businesses to take a proactive planning posture for what is expected to be a resurgence of H1N1 flu in the fall and winter months.

Among other topics, the federal officials discussed the need for businesses to:

  • develop continuity of operations plans and cross-train staff to deal with increases absenteeism due to the flu
  • implement sick-time policies that are not punitive, and that encourage employees to stay home if they are sick or caring for a child who is ill  (specifically, that businesses should drop policies such as requiring employees to get a doctor's note if they are out sick.  The health care system will be busy enough this fall and winter…)
  • explore alternative work models, such as telecommuting
  • encourage their employees to get vaccinated with seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible and with H1N1 vaccine when it's developed. And consider offering seasonal flu vaccination clinics at the worksite.  
  • create an environment where it is easy for employees to practice good hand hygiene by encouraging frequent handwashing and providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer

You can find the Toolkit by visiting

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