Ikea has reduced sick pay for unvaccinated employees who need to self-isolate due to Covid exposure, as well as for workers who test positive in some situations.
The retail behemoth agreed that it was an “emotional subject,” but added that its policy would have to change if circumstances changed.
Wessex Water will begin implementing sick pay cuts this week, while other major corporations in the United States have begun penalizing unjabbed employees.
It comes at a time when businesses are dealing with widespread employee absenteeism and growing expenditures.
Unvaccinated personnel who test positive at Ikea and do not have mitigating circumstances will be awarded sick pay under company policy.
Without mitigating circumstances, unvaccinated workers who are forced to isolate due to being recognized as close contact might now be paid as little as £96.35 per week, the statutory sick pay (SSP) minimum.
Last month, the self-isolation advice for persons who have been stabbed was relaxed. The advice for unvaccinated people who come into contact with positive cases has not changed, and they must continue self-isolating for 10 days following their date of exposure to the virus.
Ikea pays between £400 and £450 per hour, depending on location, and employees receive improved sick pay, as do many other employers. The Mail on Sunday was the first to report on the relocation.
“Fully vaccinated co-workers or those who are unvaccinated owing to mitigating circumstances which, for example, could include pregnancy or other medical reasons, would get a full salary,” Ikea, which employs roughly 10,000 people in the UK, said in a statement.
People who have had close contact with someone infected with Covid in England do not need to self-isolate if they have received at least two doses of the vaccine. Unvaccinated people who are reached via the government’s test-and-trace system are nonetheless required by law to be isolated.
Many businesses complained about labor shortages in 2021, and now the highly infectious Omicron Covid strain is causing widespread absences.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated that the evidence continued to suggest that those most gravely afflicted by Omicron were those who had not been vaccinated. The new sick pay policy at Wessex Water goes into effect this week.
If compelled to self-isolate owing to close contact with someone testing positive, any employee without at least one Covid-19 vaccine – who does not have a good medical reason – or who does not have a confirmed vaccination appointment – will receive only statutory sick pay.