In postal company Itella’s Vantaa sorting centre, for instance, about a tenth of the workforce was at home last week, sick with the flu.
Calling in sick makes heavy financial demands on employers. One day of a municipal worker's sick leave costs the employer about 200 euros. Similar costs are also incurred in the private sector, with added expenses on top of this.
In an effort to deal with the problem, many workplaces have started to register replacement workers in good time before the winter’s flu season, as well as calling those on leave back to work, and hiring temporary workforce.
Itella has even offered its workers free flu vaccinations to keep down the number of those falling ill.
The epidemic is estimated to peak in Finland over the next few weeks. Up to now, most of the infections have been influenza A, while a small number of influenza B cases have also been reported.