Is there any duty on employers to close their workplace during a flu pandemic to prevent the spread of the virus?
There is generally no requirement for employers to close their workplace during a flu pandemic, but employers should check current guidance from the Department of Health or the relevant public health body. Guidance for businesses from the Department of Health during the swine flu pandemic was that the primary focus of businesses should be on environmental, organisational and general hygiene measures to reduce the risk of transmission of flu.
However, employers should give consideration to putting in place a contingency plan that addresses business continuity if the threat escalates and results in workplace closures. In particular, alternatives such as homeworking, working from different premises, lay-off and enforced holiday should be explored. Employers should consider investing in technology to enable remote access via broadband or satellite connections where this would enable employees to work from home.