Urging and paying for shop staff to receive the flu jab will save money, resources and most importantly protect workers, according to leading independent retailer Steve Bassett.

Speaking to betterRetailing, the owner of five Londis sites in the South West explained that paying for staff to have the jab was not only the responsible thing to do, it would drastically cut Statutory Sick Pay payments and reduce the pressure on rotas, managers and other staff.

The move comes as scientists warned the flu’s comparative symptoms to the coronavirus, coupled with testing shortages could land significant numbers of staff in isolation as the UK enters a second wave of covid-19 cases.

Bassett shared a message sent to his staff that can be adapted and adopted for use by  other shop owners. It read:

“We would strongly encourage all our staff to have a flu vaccination this year – if you haven’t already done so. We will pay for the vaccination.  Please go to your nearest pharmacy and book yourselves in.  You will need to pay £12.50 and you MUST ask for a VAT receipt.  When you give me your receipt, I will reimburse you with the £12.50. If I am not at work, please give your receipt to your supervisor and ask them to do a paid out for you in the till. Stay Safe. Remember, Hands, Face, Space!”

The message was accompanied by a BBC article describing the Flu Jab as ‘more important than ever’ this winter. Research from Public Health England showed the risk of death doubles for people who catch both the flu and the coronavirus. The NHS added that take-up of the flu jab would ‘reduce pressure’ on its staff dealing with coronavirus cases.

Anybody can pay to have a flu jab at their local pharmacy, with many taking bookings online.  In England, the flu vaccine is given free of charge to those at higher risk including those 65 and over, with certain underlying health conditions, that are pregnant, in long-stay residential care, are the main carer for an older or disabled person, live with someone at high risk from the coronavirus or are a frontline health or social care worker. Those aged 54 to 64 will also be offered a free flu vaccine later this year, according to the NHS.

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