As two major companies in the South West announce a cut in sick pay for unvaccinated workers, employers considering a similar move are being urged to tread carefully.
Wessex Water, which employs more than 2,500 people, and Bristol-based retailer Ikea have both changed their policies for unvaccinated staff forced to self-isolate after being in close contact with someone with Covid.
Un-jabbed workers will now receive only statutory sick pay of £96.35 a week if they have to stay at home for this reason, unless certain mitigating circumstances and medical exemptions apply.
How have the self-isolation rules changed?
The move follows a recent change in the government’s rules on self-isolation. Fully vaccinated staff in close contact with someone with Covid can now come back to work as long as they test negative.
Wessex Water and Ikea say it is no longer fair to carry on paying unvaccinated people to stay at home while their vaccinated colleagues can return.
As intolerance towards the unvaccinated grows, and with intense pressure on staffing and costs amid the Omicron surge, more employers are expected to follow suit despite concerns it could lead to some employees choosing not to isolate when they should.
Is it legal to cut someone’s sick pay because they are unvaccinated?
Depending on individual circumstances it may be but this is a complicated area of the law which Wards Solicitors’ James Taylor, an employment law disputes specialist, spoke about recently on BBC Points West.
He says employers need to be aware of certain risks including:
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