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Pandemic outbreaks — Pennsylvania

Employers play a key role in protecting the health and safety of their employees during a pandemic outbreak. A “pandemic” is a global epidemic. There have now been five such pandemics in the last century:

  1. Spanish Flu (1918)
  2. Asian Flu (1950s)
  3. Hong Kong Flu (1960s)
  4. H1N1 Flu (2009)
  5. COVID-19 (2019-May 2023).

As many employers are now experiencing first-hand, a pandemic can have a major impact on business operations. For example:

  • employees may be forced to remain at home to care for family members
  • multiple employees may fall ill at the same time
  • employees may refuse to leave their home due to sheer panic.

While a pandemic by definition involves a medical outbreak that spreads internationally, regional epidemics can also have a crippling impact on the business community. These and other potential effects underscore the importance of disaster planning, making it crucial for employers to have a pandemic preparedness plan to minimize the risk and panic of employees and, at the same time, provide continuity in business operations. Employers should:

  • create or update a pandemic preparedness plan (PPP)