James Thomson  Employers are being warned to review their risk management plans and be prepared to send sick staff home as the number of confirmed cases of swine flu in Australia has risen to 17, with a second case of the virus confirmed in Queensland this morning.

Joydeep Hor, managing partner at Harmers Workplace Lawyers says business owners and managers much realise that they have an obligation to keep their workplace safe at all costs and the right

“Employers have an obligation to ensure that the workplaces are safe and that obligation is an absolute obligation. They have to do whatever they have to do to keep that workplace safe.”

But there are a few traps for the unwary. For starters, it is assumed than anyone sent home will be done so on full pay, regardless of whether they have sick leave owing or not.

Second is the question of communication. If you don’t announce you are sending a sniffly staff member home, you create suspicion around that person. If you do announce it to the team, you risk creating a bit of panic.