Ikea has cut sick pay for unvaccinated UK staff told to self-isolate after close contact with someone who has Covid-19.
Workers at the Swedish furniture giant could now recieve as little as £96.35 a week – the Statutory Sick Pay minimum – while they isolate.
Ikea, which has 21 large stores and more than 10,000 staff in the UK, said it was an “emotive topic” but promised people’s circumstances would be “considered on a case by case basis”.
Average wages at the flatpack furniture specialist are around £400 to £450, and staff get enhanced sick pay.
The move was first reported by the Mail on Sunday.
Other companies have also changed their policies. Unvaccinated staff at utlities firm Wessex Water face sick pay cuts from this week.
Businesses are contending with huge staff absences amid the pandemic, and the fast-spreading Omicron variant has piled on extra pressure.
Wessex Water, which serves 2.8 million customers in the South West of England, said it had taken action after seeing staff absences due to Covid double in the past week.
Fully vaccinated people in England do not need to self-isolate after coming into close contact with someone who has Covid.
But unvaccinated people contacted by the government’s test-and-trace system must still isolate by law. Similar rules are in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Ikea said in a statement: “Fully vaccinated co-workers or those that are unvaccinated owing to mitigating circumstances which, for example, could include pregnancy or other medical grounds, will receive full pay.
“Unvaccinated co-workers without mitigating circumstances that test positive with Covid will be paid full company sick pay in line with our company absence policy.
“Unvaccinated co-workers without mitigating circumstances who have been identified as close contacts of a positive case will be paid Statutory Sick Pay.
“We know this is a highly emotive topic and we appreciate there are many unique circumstances. As such, all will be considered on a case by case basis.”
At Wessex Water, employees without at least one Covid-19 jab will only get statutory sick pay if they need to self-isolate after close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. This only applies if they do not have a valid medical reason or a confirmed vaccination appointment.
A Wessex Water spokesperson said: “The vast majority of our workforce has been vaccinated and it’s important as a company providing essential services with key-worker employees [that] the remainder get vaccinated to protect themselves, customers and their colleagues. To make it easy for our staff, vaccine appointments can be booked in work time.
“Absences due to Covid have doubled in the last week, so we need everyone to be available so we can continue to provide uninterrupted essential water and sewerage services.”
The firm said it had not furloughed staff amid the pandemic, and anyone with Covid who had to self-isolate received full pay.
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