Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Ikea has reduced sickness compensation for some unvaccinated staff in the UK who isolate themselves after contact with a positive Covid-19 case.

The policy means the furniture retailer joins a growing list of companies taking a stricter approach to staff refusing a vaccination.

Ikea, which has more than 10,000 staff in the UK, said it would reduce sick pay to this group to the statutory minimum of £ 96.35 per week. The policy change was first introduced by The Post on Sunday.

“Unvaccinated employees without mitigating circumstances who have been identified as close contacts of a positive case will be paid statutory sick pay,” Ikea said.

The British government scrapped self-isolation in August for close contact with a Covid-19 case.

Ikea said its approach to Covid-19-related absences had changed after September last year and individuals absent from work would be considered “on a case-by-case basis”.

Utility company Wessex Water outlined a similar sick pay policy change from Monday, joining companies including Wm Morrison, which has already reduced sick pay for unvaccinated staff.

The water supply and sewerage company, which has experienced increasing absences over the past few weeks, will pay the statutory minimum sick pay to any isolating employee who has not received at least one Covid-19 vaccine.

“Absences due to Covid have doubled in the past week, so we need everyone available so that we can continue to provide uninterrupted essential water and sewerage services,” said Wessex Water.

Julian Cox, head of employment practice at BLM Law, said any company that reduces sick pay for unvaccinated staff “should tread carefully”.
“While some businesses see it as an attractive way to encourage staff to be vaccinated, there are potential bear traps for the inattentive, including demands for breach of contract, constructive dismissal and discrimination,” he added.

Marie Walsh, a specialist in employment law, warned that companies should consider “the consequences” of such a policy. “This can lead to employees failing to isolate and comply with guidance and attend work when they should not,” she added.

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