3.3 Million UK Businesses Risk Employee Meltdown From Pandemic Strike
LONDON, May 30 /PRNewswire/ --
- UK Bosses and Managers Admit Failure to Prepare for an Influenza Pandemic, Despite Recognising and Understanding the Risks
New YouGov research launched today reveals that despite being aware of the severe implications of an impending influenza pandemic, most bosses and managers believe their companies are ill-prepared. Over three-quarters (79%) of UK bosses admit that their company has insufficient plans or are unaware of plans in place to protect their workers and annual turnover from the impact of a pandemic strike.
The research sponsored by Roche Products Ltd highlights the depth of concern with 2 in 5 of UK bosses and managers predicting that over 1/3 of their workforce will be absent from work due to sickness, or at home looking after friends and family, if an influenza pandemic hits the UK.
According to experts the estimated overall economic impact of a pandemic strike could cost the UK GBP95 billion, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health experts are also forecasting that we are even closer to an influenza pandemic than we have ever been in the last forty years.
Yet, despite being aware of some of the likely social and economic impacts of such an event, this is still not enough to prompt business to take action. Only one in five (22%) managers admit that their business is prepared for a pandemic, and nearly three quarters (71%) also predicted they will suffer moderate to substantial financial losses due to mass employee absenteeism caused by a pandemic.
Russell Price, Chairman of the Continuity Forum claims: "This research shows that that despite the warnings the vast majority of firms do not have sufficient plans in place to respond to the very considerable impact a pandemic would cause. By failing to invest in sensible measures to protect the organisation, many businesses are exposing themselves to potentially serious difficulties which would directly impact on their ability to operate effectively, if at all and even, in many instances, force their closure."
The Financial Services and Medical/Health Service industries are the most prepared for an influenza pandemic, with 30% and 29% respectively, believing they have sufficient plans in place, with just 16% of other industries, who admit to having plans in place. The research also revealed managers surveyed in larger firms (250+ staff) are better prepared to deal with the impact of an influenza pandemic, with nearly half (44%) reporting plans in place.
The research also identified significant gaps in the fundamental steps that businesses need to take to ensure they are prepared, according to managers who have influenza business continuity plans:
- 85% have no plans or are unaware of plans to stockpile future vaccines to protect their employees
- 82% have no plans or are unaware of plans to stockpile antiviral medication to protect their employees
- 45% as yet have no plans or aware of plans in place to equip employees to work from home
- 40% would currently be unable to provide online/Internet solutions for clients
John Melville, Managing Director of Roche Products Ltd in the UK said: "It is imperative that organisations start the business continuity planning process for an influenza pandemic as soon as possible. Roche is committed to supporting UK businesses to prepare for an influenza pandemic and believe that as manufacturers of Tamiflu [oseltamivir], we have a responsibility to do so. We are currently working with external advisers to finalise our own internal pandemic plan, part of which, includes provision of antiviral drug to all employees and members of their households."
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