Ikea UK now sharply cuts unvaccinated workers’ sick pay

In a statement issued today, Ikea UK announced that “unvaccinated co-workers without mitigating circumstances who have been identified as close contacts of a positive case [of COVID-19] will be paid Statutory Sick Pay.”

The announcement means that the furniture giant has cut sick pay for unvaccinated UK employees who quarantine after their exposure to COVID-19 to the absolute allowable state minimum.

Under new rule, unvaccinated workers at the furniture retailer are now only eligible for statutory sick pay of £96.35 ($130) a week during their ten days of isolation, while the usual average pay for a store employee is £400-450 ($540-610) a week.

Ikea UK‘s statement added that unvaccinated employees who test positive with COVID-19 will be paid full company sick pay, as will those who are fully vaccinated or have not been vaccinated due to mitigating circumstances, like pregnancy or other medical conditions.

“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 company’s statement said.

The furniture retailer currently employs over 10,000 people across its 22 UK stores.

Under UK regulations, vaccinated citizens are not required to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19. But unvaccinated people notified of such a contact through the National Health Service Test and Trace scheme are required to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

The new move to pay minimum wage to unvaccinated workers forced to self-isolate has raised concerns among British unions, who have complained that the minimum pay is too low and may force people to ignore self-isolation rules and thereby spread the infection. However, many companies across the UK have said that self-isolating regulation only increases the workforce shortage which has been plaguing the country since the pandemic began.

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