Brit workers 'using swine flu as an excuse to skive'

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London, Aug 6 (ANI): Thousands of healthy workers taking advantage of official guidelines on the swine flu pandemic to extend their summer holidays are causing more disruption to businesses than the virus itself, say employers.

According to employers, workers are using the swine flu pandemic as an excuse to take time off work.

Unscrupulous workers can get themselves a course of antiviral medicine by simply phoning the NHS swine flu hot line or visiting its website, and do not need a sick note from their GP for the first seven days' absence.he Government is considering doubling this period to a fortnight and companies fear that could make the situation worse and cost them millions of pounds in lost productivity at a time when they are already struggling with the credit crunch.

It is being predicted that more healthy workers will be tempted to call in sick as the weather improves over the next week, after the wettest July on record.

The Employment Law Advisory Service, which provides legal advice to companies on personnel problems, has revealed that it had begun receiving calls from concerned managers as soon as the self-diagnosis website was set up last month.

Since then, it has heard from more than 1,000 companies, which believe staff have exploited concern about the spread of the H1N1 virus to take an extra week off.

The service believes that the Department of Health's guidance risks creating a 'skiver's charter'.

"Managers feel that some staff are simply taking advantage of concerns about the transmission of swine flu to take an extra few days off work," the Telegraph quoted Peter Mooney, ELAS's head of consultancy, as saying.

"Because the emphasis has been on not going to your local GP but using websites to assess the infection and the risk to others, those who stay at home are not going to need a doctor's note or have too many people calling on them to see how they feel.

"Based on the volume, and the nature, of calls we have been taking, the number of deliberate false cases of the condition is having a significant impact on workplaces across the country - something bosses are keen to tackle," he added. (ANI)

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