Wessex Water and IKEA cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff forced to self-isolate

Wessex Water and IKEA have both introduced sick pay cuts
Wessex Water and IKEA have both introduced sick pay cuts Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto

Bath-based Wessex Water has cut sick pay for unvaccinated members of staff who are forced to self-isolate due to Covid.

The changes came into effect on Monday 10 January and affect those who are unvaccinated and required to self-isolate due to being identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid.

Wessex Water staff who do not have a medical reason to be unvaccinated - or an appointment scheduled - will only receive statutory sick pay if they have to isolate due to being a close contact.

The statutory sick pay minimum amounts to £96.35 per week.

Wessex Water said it has brought in the changes to ensure water and sewerage services can continue amid rising Covid cases.

A spokesperson said: "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.

"To make it easy for our staff, vaccine appointments can be booked in work time.

"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."

The firm also said it had not furloughed staff during the pandemic and anyone who had to self-isolate received full pay.

Retail giant IKEA – which has stores in the South West in Bristol and Exeter – has also cut sick pay for unvaccinated employees in some circumstances.

A company spokesperson said: "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.

"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.”