The Co-operative Group is offering 450 of its estates employees a free flu jab, which it claims to be Europe's largest ever private sector flu vaccination programme.
Estates staff, of which over half are based in Manchester, will be offered the jab either at a workplace clinic or via 400 of The Co-operative pharmacy's branches, which are also offering the vaccination to consumers and other businesses for £11, as well as an on-site vaccination service to businesses with more than 100 employees.
Employees must first answer a series of health related questions before they will be vaccinated by a Co-operative pharmacist.
Last year, The Co-operative carried out research on 110,000 employees which showed that they lost over 300,000 hours to absenteeism from cold and flu.
The Co-operative estimates it will save at least £1m a year if 75% of its 110,000-strong workforce takes up the offer.
Peter Marks, group chief executive of The Co-operative Group, said: "The UK economy requires help to boost growth and output and our initiative is the kind of shot in the arm it needs.
"Reducing the costs and impact on business efficiency from workplace absenteeism is particularly important in these difficult economic times. Our leading approach to offer flu vaccinations to our staff makes business sense while improving the welfare of our employees."
The inoculation, supplied by Novartis Vaccines, contains the H1N1, also known as swine flu, strain in line with World Health Organisation recommendations and has been ordered from stocks outside those allocated for the NHS.
- For more information visit The Co-operative Pharmacy website here