John Lewis has said that it will continue to pay all its staff full sick pay if they have to self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status.
The retailer says it would not be “right” to differentiate.
Following the recent confirmations by retailers IKEA, Ocado, Next, and Morrisons that they would only pay the legal minimum sick pay to unvaccinated staff if they are required to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, John Lewis – which currently employs around 70,000 people in the UK – says it doesn’t “believe it’s right” to treat jabbed and unjabbed workers differently.
John Lewis’s Operations Director Andrew Murphy said he “cast no judgement”, and he added that the company was “not going to make any change of this type”.
Taking to LinkedIn to share his views on vaccination requirements in the workplace, Mr Murphy said: “We’re conscious that some businesses have changed their sick pay policy with regard to unvaccinated employees in some COVID-related absence scenarios, [but] at John Lewis, we’re not going to make any change of this type.
“We’re hugely supportive of the UK vaccination programme… [but] we just don’t believe it’s right to create a link between a Partner’s vaccination status and the pay they receive.
“Leadership teams from every business have had to work incredibly hard to navigate the COVID years [as] there has been no map, guidebook or training programme to help anyone find the best way through.
“Very often, there’s just a choice between a range of unappealing options.
“We’re conscious that some businesses have changed their sick pay policy with regard to unvaccinated employees in some COVID-related absence scenarios, but we just don’t believe it’s right to create a link between a partner’s vaccination status and the pay they receive.”
He continued in his statement: “We cast no judgement on the decisions of any other organisation.
“However, when life increasingly seems to present opportunities to create division – and with hopes rising that the pandemic phase of COVID may be coming to an end – we’re confident that this is the right approach for us.”
At present, people who had had at least two doses of a COVID vaccine are not required to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone infected – but by law, people who are unvaccinated and are contacted through the government’s ‘Test and Trace’ system must self-isolate for 10 days.
As mentioned, unjabbed employees at companies including Morrisons, IKEA, Ocado and Next who are told to isolate only get statutory sick pay of £96.35 a week, unlike their jabbed colleagues who get full sick pay.
Any worker who tests positive for COVID at these retailers will get full sick pay though, regardless of their vaccination status.
While it appears a growing number of companies in the UK are following a US-style model of slashing sick pay for unvaccinated staff, John Lewis joins other supermarket retailers Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Asda who are continuing to provide full sick pay for all employees when they are when they are isolating.
Featured Image – NDY