Australian companies working to offset AUD7 billion productivity losses through flu vaccination programmes

6 March, 2019

Aussie employers are bracing themselves for potential repeat productivity losses this flu season with many employees again expected to take multiple sick days to recover from illness.

Absenteeism currently costs the Australian economy about AUD7 billion, while the cost of presenteeism (where employees are sick on the job) is approximately AUD34 billion through lost productivity*. In 2018, approximately 48,276** cases of influenza were reported nationwide.

TerryWhite Chemmart Chief Executive Officer Anthony White said businesses that invested in their employees’ health by joining the TerryWhite Chemmart Corporate Flu Vaccination Programme had more engaged workers and less absenteeism.

“Employers are seeing that a healthy workforce is not just a benefit to employees but can lead to greater economic return, with 47 per cent*** of companies now offering workplace wellness programmes,” Mr White said.

TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist Krystel Tresillian said it was important for people to get an annual flu vaccination, as flu strains evolved constantly and were very infections.

“Influenza is caused by a viral infection that is easily spread from person to person,” she said.

“A person with the flu may be contagious a full 24 hours before symptoms begin and continue to be infectious for a week after the onset of symptoms.

“This can have a devastating effect on a workplace, with the virus circulating quickly between co-workers and even onwards to their families.”

* ** Australian Influenza Surveillance Report – 2018 Influenza Season in Australia ***