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Sydney’s crisp winter has taken its toll on employees, with come companies reporting up to 20 per cent of their workforce has been absent due to the flu and colds.

"We’re urging Sydneysiders to be vigilant about preventing the spread of coughs and colds," said Patricia Forsythe, Executive Director of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce.

Mrs Forsythe said that anecdotal evidence suggests that Sydney businesses have been hit particularly hard by influenza and colds this winter, with staff absences hovering between 10 to 20 per cent throughout July.

"This time of year is peak-season for influenza and colds – it has a significant impact on business productivity.

Mrs Forsythe said that it has been estimated that the national cost of absenteeism is around $2 billion per annum in the private sector.

"For employees who are genuinely unwell, the message from employers should be to stay at home so that they don’t pass their illness onto their colleagues.

"One strategy some employers use to combat absenteeism during winter is to offer their staff flu vaccinations.

"The spread of the flu is a significant Occupation Health and Safety issue for workplaces," Mrs Forsythe concluded.

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