This morning I was listening to my local radio station and they were asking the listening audience how they might react to a restaurant owner was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to ask a guest to leave based on obvious flu-like symptoms. Applying this scenario to our day-to-day work environments, it becomes ever more apparent that a good well-planned procedure needs to be in place...
This morning I was listening to my local radio station and they were asking the listening audience how they might react to a news story that was recently released. In the news item, a restaurant owner was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to ask a guest to leave based on obvious flu-like symptoms.
Over 69% of the respondents said "yes" that the restaurant owner should request the guest to remove himself from the premises... Applying this scenario to our day to day work environments, it becomes ever more apparent that a good well-planned procedure needs to be in place ensuring a smooth and positive process that allows for uninterrupted flow of our operations not only on the shop floor but throughout our business... and even more so, with stories, experiences, media information, internet headlines and statistics and predictions, and even radio station surveys as mentioned above, being broadcasted everywhere on H1N1, "communication" is both essential and integral to developing and implementing successful planning of any kind...
Keeping in mind "communication", this month our Food and Beverage Networking Event will be welcoming a representative from the firm of Hicks Morley - legal experts in the area of employment labour matters. They will be providing us with the latest information on legislative issues through updates and case studies and also a review of the Amendment to the Workplace Violence Act, Bill 168. Of particular interest though to some, may be their thoughts on the H1N1 virus and the affects that has on attendance management in general and what your rights and responsibilities are as Managers and Employers in your organizations.
In addition to the information that has been made readily available through the media on protection from the virus itself, not the least of which is having the vaccine administered if you are able to do so, as Employers and Managers, we need to ensure that we have the right policies and procedures in place to manage the virus in our own buildings. Pandemic Planning and plant wide communication is definitely an opportunity that would afford both Human Resource and Production Managers to manage at short-notice intervals. It will be essential for everyone to have a good handle on the applicable Acts that affect employee leaves and absences due to illness including the Emergency Leave Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Understanding the implications of any Attendance Policies, Collective Bargaining Agreements, Employment Contracts etc. is also essential.
There are, I am sure, a number of questions that are milling through everyone's minds as the second wave of this influenza virus spreads across our Country…
* Can a sick employee be sent home?
* Should an employer notify its employees that a co-worker is ill?
* What should you do if healthy employees are somewhat fearful and feel that they must work from home?
* What confirmation or information do you require to ensure that the worker is safe to return to work and their everyday activities?
Perhaps one of the key benefits of "networking" in a particular time as now, is that benchmarking and sharing of information is readily available. For those who are EMC Members, we have over 1200 topics of information built up in our Member Needs Help database. These past few months, we have been acquiring policies and procedures relating to the H1N1 virus and assisting those we can with their Pandemic Planning. Like many other organizations, we too are now bringing sanitary gel to our Events and encouraging and fostering safe health practices in washing hands regularly etc. No doubt, we will do our best as well, to share any important and relevant information through our website or newsletter to keep you up to date on issues that may provide some assistance in your planning process.
At the end of the day, thinking back on the radio station's survey, it stands to reason that the most important aspect from a management side regardless of our role in our business that "communication" has to be key. Having a plan in place… following the plan, the policies, the procedures… keeping the people informed… all of that lends to calmness rather than "fear"… "fear" can have a far reaching impact on attendance, on morale, on our sense of security and on our businesses in general.
We hope that you will be able to join us for our Special Hicks Morley session on November 24th, 2009 in Kingston or Peterborough or on November 25th in Vaughan or Brantford. It might be the perfect opportunity to ask questions that can assist your organization on your roles and responsibilities in light of H1N1 and to learn the latest in employment issues that may affect your company. Please RSVP to me at email@example.com at any time to participate in one of these upcoming events!
Just a few thoughts I've pondered as the media unfurls daily updates on the spread of the H1N1 virus.
Best wishes for a healthy and safe day!