John Lewis vows to continue paying full sick pay to unvaccinated staff – and says it wouldn’t be ‘right’ not to

“We’re confident that this is the right approach for us.”

Following a move by a number of employers to cut sick pay for their unvaccinated staff, one retailer has spoken out and said they won’t be doing anything of the sort.

John Lewis department store has come out to publicly confirm they will continue paying full sick pay to staff, no matter what their vaccination status is.

It follows announcements from Morrisons, Ocado, NExt and IKEA, which both said they would cut back payments to unvaccinated staff falling sick with Covid who are forced to self-isolate.

Serations Director Andrew Murphy said he didn’t believe it was right to create a link between a partner’s vaccination status and the pay they recieve.

Adding that he “cast no judgement”, and he went on to say 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.

“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.”

John Lewis to pay full sick pay for unvaccinated staff and says it wouldn’t be ‘right’ not to, The Manc
John Lewis has said that it will continue to pay all its staff full sick pay if they have to self-isolate / Credit: John Lewis

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.”

A number of employers of key workers, such as supermarket and retail staff, have come out and made a stance against their unvaccinated employees – saying they will only get statutory sick pay, equivalent in the UK to around £96.35 a week if they need to isolate.

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.

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.

Feature image – NDY

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