Supermarket chain Morrisons has announced that it plans to reduce sick pay for unvaccinated employees in the hope that it will encourage more people to get the jab.
According to the retailer, it also expects to save money by changing its policy from next month (October), although the wage reduction will not apply to employees who have not yet had the opportunity to get two doses of the vaccine or those who have Covid-19 (Coronavirus) symptoms.
However, as a result of this decision, the supermarket is facing backlash and could now face legal action after revealing its plans to cut the amount paid to members of staff who had not been vaccinated and told to self-isolate.
Lawyers and union representatives have warned that there is a risk employees will avoid isolating when they should do so, as the lack of sick pay will impact their financial wellbeing. They also stated that the supermarket could also face discrimination claims over this, particularly from workers with disabilities who could medically get the vaccine but had decided against it.
Unite national health and safety adviser Rob Miguel explained that the union “absolutely encourages” people who are able to get vaccinated, but also “strongly” believes the process should be voluntary, as there are many people unable to have the jabs for legitimate reasons.
“Such strong-arm tactics will result in issues around equalities, human rights and ethical breaches. The pandemic has taught us that workers who can’t afford to self-isolate will be tempted to continue working, as the economic consequences of not doing so are dire,” he said.
A Morrisons spokesperson said: “From 1 October, following UK government confirmation that all adults have had the opportunity to get double vaccinated, we will no longer be paying full sick pay for pinged colleagues who have chosen not to be vaccinated.”