The Cost Of The Flu To Businesses

Posted November 9, 2018 by Mary McGinley

Almost no one likes the prospect of getting a shot – even if it’s to keep you from getting sick. Every year, employers face the headache of trying to convince their workers just how important it is to get their yearly flu vaccine. For some, avoiding the shot can be because of schedule conflicts, the popular misconception that flu vaccines themselves can make you get sick, or just a general avoidance by workers to getting the shot.

In a recent story appearing on the Benefits News website, during those years when there is a sharp increase in the number of flu cases more workers make it a point to be immunized.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported in a story on their website that the estimated amount of time lost for a worker being out with flu is 5 days with an average cost of $200 lost per workday. Over a period of 5 days, a case of the flu can cost $1,000 for each worker – even before other health care costs are calculated. The CDC reports that 80,000 people lost their lives to the flu over the past year. Being immunized carries cost benefits on a multitude of levels. For those workers who may be exposed to the flu virus and are regularly around small children or who have elderly parents or coworkers, getting the shot has its definite benefits.

Beyond issues of convenience and scheduling, and repeated reminder notices being sent out by HR departments as a reminder to get immunized, many organizations have found that they almost need to make workers get their yearly flu vaccination a requirement. Some have found that by bringing in an immunization team on the job site can help increase the number of workers getting their yearly vaccine.

Edward Yost, manager of employee relations and development at SHRM said in a recent interview that the more convenient immunization is made for workers, the more likely they are to take part in the program. Workers who see colleagues getting immunized, Yost says, the more likely they are to choose to get immunized themselves.