Does my credit union still need a pandemic plan?

by Michele Dowis

With all of the winter weather and stress going on this time of year, viruses are everywhere and resistance is down.  Are you prepared for a number of your staff to be out at the same time?  A whole department to be sick at the same time?  There may not be a pandemic looming, but the impact on your staff could be similar.

Tim Daugherty posted in September some great information on keeping you building healthy.  “ It’s Flu Time – how to protect your Credit Union from sick building syndrome”.  Unfortunately, sicknesses may have already taken hold in yours?  Germs being shared?

You’ve had Pandemic Plans in place for years but haven’t had a need to use them.  Well, this is actually the perfect time to pull out those plans, review/use and update them.  They may have made sense when you created them back in 2004 for the bird flu pandemic.  Maybe you updated them in 2009 during the H1N1 scare?  It’s been 4 years since.  Do you know where the plan is?  Is everyone aware of the plan?

Your plan should include but not be limited to the following:

  • Establish appropriate chain of command and lines of communication
  • Know where and how to monitor pandemic status such as
  • Identify service level reduction that would determine need to close office
  • Identify essential staff and critical processes required to maintain critical operations by location and function during a pandemic.
  • Identify business functions that could be outsourced or cross-trained to other departments and offices in the event of high employee absenteeism.
  • Understand local and national health plans and policies regarding possible quarantines, transportation and school closures, etc.
  • Forecast and allow for employee absenses during a pandemic due to personal illness, family illness, quarantines, transportation and school closures, etc.  Ensure cross-training to fill essential vacancies that might occur.
  • Develop options for conducting business in a safe fashion for employees and members.
  • Develop cleaning guidelines to prevent spreading of virus and maintain supplies and receptacles for disposal.
  • Establish and clearly communicate policies on sick leave, family leave and employee compensation.  Advise employees who are ill during a pandemic to stay at home.
  • Expand guidelines for conducting business online and establish policies for alternate and flexible worksites and hours.
  • Communication plan for employees, stakeholders – maintain contact information for all.
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