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Preventing the Spread of Flu in the Workplace Policy

September 15, 2009

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to University managers, faculty and staff regarding the balance of University workload needs and the employee’s personal needs in times of flu as well as to provide guidance to managers and supervisors when dealing with an employee who appears ill.

The University suggests that the following practices be observed to help prevent and contain the spread of flu:

  • Get vaccinated for seasonal flu and, if you are in a priority group (see, for H1N1 when it becomes available.
  • Prevent the spread of illness by practicing good hygiene practices including:
  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water
  2. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough with a tissue or your sleeve
  3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder; not into your hands.
  4. Frequently wipe down work surfaces with alcohol
    • Do not come to the workplace if you suspect you may be ill with the flu. Stay home or at your place of residence for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating without the use of fever-reducing medications.
    • As a supervisor when dealing with a situation where an employee may be ill and at work, please take the following steps to help maintain a healthy workplace:
    1. Err on the side of caution—Request the employee leave for the day and pay the remainder of the day as work time
    2. Respectfully express your concern for the employees’ health and wellbeing
    3. Encourage the employee to go home until their fever has been gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication
    4. Encourage the employee to seek medical care as appropriate
    5. Encourage telework when feasible – please refer to the PSU Temporary Telework Policy and Agreement at

      If a supervisor assesses that an employee is ill and should go home to take care of him or herself as well as to prevent the contagion to others, the supervisor may require the employee to go home. The employee will be paid for the remainder of the regular shift. For questions about this call Human Resources.