Recently some big household names have announced their plans to reduce sick pay to statutory for unvaccinated employees who isolate due to contact with someone who is Covid -19 positive. The two-tier sick pay is a policy for unvaccinated staff, particularly regarding isolation. Vaccinated members of staff do not need to isolate under the same strict rules as the unvaccinated do. Some companies have chosen to cut sick pay entirely for isolating unvaccinated staff. This seems like an unfair advantage, as some groups will be hit harder.
The pandemic has undoubtably been hard for many businesses. This move to a two-tier sick pay policy presents some real potential challenges. On the surface it might look like a viable option to help curb spiralling staff cost’s but if you to are thinking about moving in this direction book an appointment with us first.
While this might sound like a way for a business to cut costs it could very quickly become an expensive HR nightmare. There are lots of reasons for why an employee might have not had the Covid-19 vaccine. Some of these reasons could be classed as protected characteristics such as pregnancy, race, religious belief and disability. To discriminate against an employee with a protected characteristic would likely result in a costly trip to the employment tribunal.
One well known furniture company have added the caveat that employees’ claims would be looked at case by case and exemptions would be taken into consideration. This could potentially generate a lot more work for HR. As each case would have to be reviewed and an appeals process put in place. This would all have to be done in a timely manner to meet staff payroll deadlines. The reality will mean that unvaccinated staff who do not have an exemption will face a financial cost for being unvaccinated.