Employment and compliance with pandemic influenza mitigation recommendations

Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Feb;16(2):212-8. doi: 10.3201/eid1602.090638.


In the event of a serious pandemic influenza outbreak, businesses must play a key role in protecting employees' health and safety. With regard to pandemic influenza mitigation recommendations requiring social distancing, we examined whether some US employees would disproportionately fail to comply because of job insecurity and financial problems associated with missing work. We used the 2006 Harvard School of Public Health Pandemic Influenza Survey and multivariable logistic regression to determine whether employment characteristics such as inability to work from home, lack of pay when absent from work, and self-employment would be associated with less ability to comply with recommendations. We found that inability to work from home, lack of paid sick leave, and income are associated with working adults' ability to comply and should be major targets for workplace interventions in the event of a serious outbreak.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult