Covid POLL: Should employers follow IKEA and cut sick pay for unvaccinated?
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Ikea has received both backlash and support in light of its policy change on Covid, with antivaxxers taking to social media to attempt to start a #boycottikea trend. Ikea acknowledged it was an “emotive topic” but said its policy had to evolve to handle mass staff absences and rising costs.
It is thought other employers will soon implement similar policies as Omicron has been detected in up to one in every 15 people in England, causing drastic shortages, especially in the NHS. From this week, sick pay cuts will be implemented at water provider Wessex Water and in the US several major companies have started penalising unjabbed workers including Twitter, Uber, McDonald’s, The Walt Disney Company, The New York Times, Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and American Express.
Ikea, which employs about 10,000 people in the UK, 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.”
Ikea’s unvaccinated workers who are required to isolate after being identified as a close contact, could now just £96.35 a week – the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) minimum, instead of the enhanced sick pay is usually given out.
A Wessex Water spokesperson said absences have soared this year: “The vast majority of our workforce has been vaccinated and it’s important as a company providing essential services with key worker employees, the remainder get vaccinated to protect themselves, customers and their colleagues.
“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.”
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Self-isolation guidance for people who have been jabbed was relaxed last month from 10 days to seven days, but the unvaccinated must still self-isolate for 10 full days after their date of exposure to the virus.
In addition, people who are vaccinated with at least two doses do not need to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone infected with Covid, but the unvaccinated do.
However, the track and trace system that many have described as a failure, could fail to identify hundreds of unvaccinated people who need to isolate.
What’s your stance? Do you support Ikea’s decision? Have your say in the comments section below.
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