Dubbo Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright is telling employees not to soldier on when they have influenza (flu) while applauding employers who send sick workers home.
The business leader has joined a queue of people urging victims of flu to help prevent its spread by staying home.
On Wednesday there were 559 confirmed cases within the Western NSW Local Health District, up 236 on the 323 recorded in the same periods in 2016.
The NSW Health Influenza Surveillance Report for the week ending August 13 revealed a surge of flu cases in the health district.
In the seven-day period 180 cases were confirmed, compared to an average 61 per week in the previous month.
The health district’s director of nursing and midwifery Adrian Fahy has told the community to “ask sick people to stay away until they are well”.
The advice has got the thumbs up from community members on the Daily Liberal’s Facebook page.
“I stay away when l have a cold etc and l expect the same courtesy from others,” Gail Scanlon said.
Shanaine Louise said it was “common courtesy to stay home and get well”.
“Sharing the flu is unnecessary and hard to avoid in an enclosed workplace,” Debra Gale said.
Mr Wright said the chamber heard from employers of staff “staying on when they are sick”, leading to the spread of flu and “further absenteeism and and loss of productivity”.
He said a “lot of employees” felt obligated to turn up to work despite being sick.
“They want to be there and get the job done and ..don’t want to let the rest of the team down,” the president said.
“But by turning up sick you potentially are letting the rest of the team down by bringing your sickness into work.
“I think it is really a matter of staff using their employee benefits of sick leave. That is exactly what it is for, genuine sickness.”
“I’d like to think that a majority of businesses owners happily let their staff avail themselves of sick days legitimately, especially this time of year.”
Mr Wright said employers were doing themselves and others a favour when advising sick workers to go home.
“For business owners to make that decision to send a staff member home is really potentially protecting the other staff but also the future and short-term productivity of the business itself,” he said.