Furniture maker Ikea has cut sick pay for unvaccinated UK employees who self-isolate after exposure to Covid-19 to the state minimum, the company said in a statement on Monday.
“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,” Ikea UK said in the statement.
This means that the majority of unvaccinated Ikea employees will receive a mere £96.35 (around $130) per week while self-isolating, while the usual average pay for a store employee is £400-450 ($540-610) a week.
The 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 statement stressed.
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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