Swine flu to cost Spanish firms EUR 1 billion

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A recent survey predicts firms will have to fork out EUR 1 billion as 12 percent of Spanish workers come down with the A(H1N1) virus and be out of the office for seven days.

Madrid – The swine flu outbreak will cost Spanish firms around EUR 1 billion due to worker absenteeism, according to a study released Monday by Adecco, the world’s biggest temporary staffing company.

"Taking into account the cost of work during the absence of an employee and the probable length of time of the absence, the approximate cost for companies will be around EUR 1 billion," the study by the Swiss firm said.

The company based its findings on an estimate that around 12 percent of all Spanish workers would contract the A(H1N1) virus, with the average length of time off work through illness set at seven days.

There were nevertheless "numerous unknown quantities that still must be revealed to calculate" the total impact on companies of the disease, said the company.

Nearly 2,200 people around the world have died from the virus since it emerged in April in Mexico, according to the latest World Health Organization figures.

Spain was the first European country to confirm a case of the virus and with 21 deaths from the disease so far it is the second-most affected country in the continent after Britain.

The country plans to vaccinate up to 40 percent of Spain's population of around 46 million people against swine flu.

AFP / Expatica

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