More workers falling ill, JEF survey finds
Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
AS CONCERNS continue to mount about the spread of the chikungunya virus (chik-V), the Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF) has reported that more than 90 per cent of employers who responded to a JEF survey have seen an increase in absenteeism among their employees due to what they describe as flu-like symptoms.
David Wan, president of the JEF, was cautious about confirming that all cases were as a result of chik-V. He said based on a recent survey among the approximately 400 companies registered with the federation, 39 responded saying they have had to send home workers due to illness in the last two weeks.
"We still have to be careful because not all cases have been confirmed as having the virus. I can safely say, however, based on the response we got from the 39 employers, all of them said they have been impacted to some extent. Of course, productivity will be impacted also, so we are all on the alert," he said.
"Though only 39 responded, I can imagine that most companies have been affected in some way. I am relieved by the fact that productivity might not be hampered severely because if a company has 100 employees, it is highly unlikely that all of them will get sick at once. So we see a cumulative effect and not so much catastrophic," Wan told The Gleaner.
Wan said employers have taken the initiative to ensure that mosquito-breeding sites are eradicated at their workplace.
"All employers also said that they have been taking measures to ramp up awareness among their employees as to steps they can take to protect themselves," said the JEF president.
"I also want to urge companies that have not started to implement measures, to do so. We all have to do our part to combat the impact, so that productivity will not be severely impacted," he charged.