Morrisons cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff

Unvaccinated Morrisons workers who are forced to isolate but test negative will now receive statutory sick pay. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty

Morrisons confirmed on Tuesday that it has cut sick pay for its unvaccinated staff members who have to isolate after being exposed to COVID-19.

Unvaccinated Morrisons workers who are forced to isolate but test negative will now receive statutory sick pay of £96.35 a week.

Workers who test positive will receive the firm’s full sick pay of at least £10 an hour.

Other large retailers such as Ikea, Next and Ocado (OCDO.L) have made similar moves as COVID-related staff absences rise.

The change in policy was first mentioned by Morrisons CEO Dave Potts in a conference call with investors in September, according to the Guardian

The move was part of a plan to tackle the “biblical costs” of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic an was meant to encourage staff to get jabbed, the Guardian said.

The new policy will mean that unjabbed employees who are told by NHS Test and Trace that they need to isolate because they have been in contact with COVid-19 will only get the legal minimum amount of sick pay when they isolate.

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In England, unvaccinated people must isolate for 10 days if they are exposed to COVID, even if they do not test positive themselves.

Morrisons said the new policy only applies to staff who choose to remain unvaccinated, and each individual is treated on a case-by-case basis. 

Fully-vaccinated workers do not have to isolate when exposed to COVID and those who cannot receive the COVID vaccine for medical reasons are also not required to isolate in England.

Due to the rule change for vaccinated workers, which was introduced in August, unvaccinated employees have become more likely to take time off work than their vaccinated colleagues, even when they do not test positive for coronavirus.

Statutory sick pay is the minimum amount employers must pay when their workers have to take time off due to illness. But some offer more — this is normally known as company or contractual sick pay.

Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), Tesco (TSCO.L) and Asda currently pay unvaccinated workers full company sick pay when they are isolating.

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