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Pig flu promises holidays for all

Two weeks off for pig sick lazy swines

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The Department of Health is actively considering doubling the time people are allowed to sign themselves off sick as a response to swine flu - officially now a pandemic.

Currently you are allowed to sign yourself off sick for paltry seven days, but the DoH thinks this should be increased to a tasty two weeks. Given that many doctors are asking patients with suspected swine flu not to come into surgeries for fear of spreading the disease, this should allow the enterprising skiver to take most of the summer off sick.

Without a positive test for the flu, you could presumably take your two weeks, plus a possible extra five days for quarantine, before returning to work. And you still haven't been tested so a repeat performance is always a possibility.

The Department of Health said the move was "actively being considered", despite concerns from employers' groups that the change would create a blaggers charter for workshy Brits.

If the measures were introduced they would likely only last six months, according to Personnel Today which we can thank for the dangerous news. The mag reckons swine flu could cost Britain as much as £1.5bn a day - and that was before they told everyone to go home and watch the cricket for a fortnight.

The UK has had spotted 9,700 cases since April 2009. A handful of people have died in the UK, but dull old human flu kills several thousand every winter.

NHS Direct advises people who suspect they have the disease to check their symptoms online and phone their doctor if they are still worried. The doctor may then prescribe anti-virals, which can be picked up by friend or family member.

The rest of us are advised to stock up on paracetamol-based cold remedies and "Establish a network of 'flu friends'" - people you can send out to fetch beer, biscuits and DVDs. ®

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