On November 10, SHRM member Elissa C. O’Brien testified at the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families hearing titled, “The Cost of Being Sick: H1N1 and Paid Sick Days”. Ms. O’Brien is Vice President of Human Resources at Wingate Healthcare in Needham, MA, and a member of SHRM’s Special Expertise Panel on Labor Relations.
Elissa O'Brien testifying before Senate Subcommittee
In her testimony, Ms. O’Brien shared the HR perspective with senators who are considering crafting a federal protection for workers during this winter’s flu season. She explained the efforts SHRM has undertaken to educate its 250,000+ members on H1N1 preparedness and described her employer’s workplace flexibility and leave policies.
“At Wingate, we offer a very generous paid time off (PTO) plan that provides our 4,000 employees with paid leave to use for any reason,” said Ms. O’Brien.
Ms. O’Brien also told the Subcommittee about SHRM’s efforts in developing a comprehensive campaign to prepare employers for the spread of the H1N1 virus. SHRM has partnered with the federal government’s leading health authorities — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — to help employers prepare for an influenza pandemic in the workplace.
In addition, SHRM and the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy produced a toolkit, “Doing Business during an Influenza Pandemic: Human Resources Policies, Protocols, Templates, Tools, & Tips.” We encourage you to click on the link and check out the toolkit for important lessons learned by HR professionals and other valuable information from health experts at the CDC.