Ikea cuts sick pay for unvaccinated staff

Ikea introduces pay freezes for 208,000 employeesSwedish retail giant Ikea has cut sick pay for unvaccinated  staff in the UK who need to self-isolate as a result of being exposed to Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

The decision by the business, which employs about 10,000 people across 22 stores in this country, could see unvaccinated workers who have been required to stay at home but not confirmed as having the virus receive just £96.35 a week, which is the statutory sick pay (SSP) minimum.

The organisation insists all circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis and encourages any members of staff with concerns or doubts to speak to their manager.

Fully vaccinated workers and those who are unvaccinated owing to certain mitigating circumstances – potentially including pregnancy or other medical grounds – will continue to receive full pay while self-isolating in line with guidance.

And all staff who test positive with Covid-19 will be paid full company sick pay regardless of their vaccination status in line with Ikea’s absence policy.

An Ikea spokesperson said the company’s approach to Covid-related absences had been developed with its social partners and national co-worker committee and had evolved following the vaccine roll out and changes in the government’s isolation requirements.

“Unvaccinated co-workers without mitigating circumstances who have been identified as close contacts of a positive case will be paid SSP,” said the spokesperson. “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.”

The decision comes as many businesses struggle with mass staff absences due to Covid-19 isolation periods, as well as rising sick pay costs.

In England, people who have received at least two doses of the vaccine do not need to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone infected with Covid-19, unless they test positive themselves. However, unvaccinated people contacted through the government’s test-and-trace system must still isolate by law.