Can employers reduce sick pay for unvaccinated staff? Margaret Adewale of HR Dept Gloucester
It has been recently highlighted in the press that Ocado and Next have cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff who should self-isolate due to Covid.
Unvaccinated staff who are required to isolate might now obtain as little as £96.35 every week (the Statutory Sick Pay minimum) - writes Margaret Adewale, director of the HR Dept Gloucester.
In light of the above - what are employee sick pay rights?
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is the minimum amount employers should pay, however some employers pay more than SSP - that is usually referred to as firm or contractual sick pay.
While the policy may have a disproportionate impact on those from certain ethnic or religious groups (which could give rise to a claim for indirect discrimination), an employer may well be able to justify the policy on the basis of their legitimate business needs"
However, employers must be "careful that policies are communicated carefully and sensitively" to keep away from worker relations points. They should also consider existing contractual provisions. Businesses need to tread carefully and HR should le prepared for any conflict this might cause.
With covid staffing shortages expected to last into next year, despite the risks involved, the expectation is that more firms are likely to follow Ocado and Next and adapt their sick pay policies.
Is your organization treating (or considering) vaccinated and unvaccinated staff in a different way? For advice and support in this matter contact: Margaret Adewale at the HR Dept. Gloucester - Tel: 01452 405280
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