H1N1 flu virus: even if they were sick, many Quebec employees would still show up for work - Findings of a CROP-CRHA survey

Many employees in Quebec would still show up for work even if they had the H1N1 flu virus. That’s the astonishing finding of a CROP poll conducted among Quebec workers on behalf of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés last month.

Close to one-quarter of respondents said that they would still go to work even if they or a member of their household had the H1N1 flu virus. This attitude is even more prevalent among men, with one in three (33%) reporting that they still intended to go to work if they or a relative caught the virus.

Confirming this trend, close to 60% of respondents said that they show up for work even when they really aren’t feeling well.

“We’ve already noted that employees in Quebec tend to show up at work even when they’re ill. They don’t seem to be sufficiently aware of the risks of such behaviour, which in the end benefits neither the employee nor the employer, and definitely should be stopped,” explained Florent Francoeur, CHRP, Ordre president and CEO.

However, the survey also indicated that 44% of respondents would be afraid to go to work if one of their co-workers or someone in their household had H1N1 flu.

A long way to go in terms of prevention
The poll shows that there’s still a long way to go in terms of prevention in Quebec workplaces. Almost one in two workers (45%) reported that his or her employer hadn’t introduced any preventive measures to cope with a possible H1N1 flu pandemic. Among less-educated workers, this figure rose to 59%.

Furthermore, despite the threat of a flu pandemic, more than one respondent in two (53%) said they hadn’t changed their personal habits, such as washing their hands, coughing into their elbows or using a hand sanitizer. Among men, this percentage was as high as 58%.

Lastly, 60% of those surveyed reported that their fellow employees aren’t concerned about the H1N1 flu virus.

 “On the whole, these figures are quite disturbing. Without wishing to create a climate of panic and uncertainty, it’s important to point out how crucial it is for employers to introduce an emergency plan for dealing with a pandemic. At the same time, they should also promote prevention measures and make sure their employees are aware of the importance of minimizing the risk of contamination within their organization. For example, encouraging employees to wash their hands more often and advising them to stay home if they have the flu are simple steps to take,” concluded Francoeur.

To learn more…
The complete survey results are available at www.portailrh.org/presse (in French only).


CROP-CRHA survey findings
Highlights

 

Employee behaviour

Questions

All employees

Men

Women

% of employees who would show up for work if they or a member of their household had the H1N1 flu virus

24 %

33 %

16 %

% of employees who show up for work even when they really aren’t feeling well

59 %

60 %

57 %

% of employees who haven’t changed their personal habits (washing their hands, coughing into their elbows, using a hand sanitizer, etc.)

53 %

58 %

47 %

Preventive measures and other questions
 

Questions

Yes
(% of employees)

Non
(% of employees)

Has your employer introduced any measures to prevent H1N1 flu?

51 %

45%

If one of your co-workers or a member of your household had the H1N1 flu virus, would you be afraid to go to work?

44 %

54 %

Are your fellow employees concerned about H1N1 flu?

37 %

60 %