The Co-operative Group is to offer flu jabs to over 100,000 employees in the hope of saving at least £1 million on absenteeism, it was announced today.
Employees, including 70,000 food staff, will be offered the injections in order to lessen the impact of illness over the upcoming winter months.
It is estimated that if just 75 per cent of the workforce takes up the opportunity, the retailer will save over £1 million, a significant sum considering the £1 billion that absenteeism costs UK businesses annually.
Oxford Economics, a forecasting consultancy, estimates that a future outbreak of swine flu could affect overall UK GDP by as much as three per cent due to affected workers being quarantined, making Co-op’s vaccination, which contains the H1N1 (swine flu) strain, even more valuable.
It will be available to Co-op staff either from one of the 42 workplace clinics it runs or via 400 of The Co-operative Pharmacy’s branches.
Peter Marks, Group CEO, said: “The UK economy requires help to boost growth and output and our initiative is the kind of shot in the arm it need.
“Reducing the costs and impact on business efficiency from workplace absenteeism is particularly important in these difficult economic times.
“Our leading approach to offer flu vaccinations to our staff makes business sense while improving the welfare of our employees.”
Co-op, which operates over 5000 retail outlets, also offers an on-site vaccination service to consumers and businesses with more than 100 employees for £11.
This retailer recently confirmed that Boots IT Director Andy Haywood is to join the mutual organisation as Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the start of 2012, while Co-op Group’s Food CEO Tim Hurrell announced his plans to retire at the end of this year, having led the business through the biggest period of change in its history, including the acquisition of Somerfield in 2009.