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Employers slash sick pay for unvaccinated Derbyshire workers

Thursday, November 11th, 2021 3:17pm

By Christina Massey, Local Democracy Reporter @_ChrisMassey

Workers in Derbyshire who refuse the Covid-19 jab could lose out on sick pay as companies review their sickness policies – a union chief has warned.

Jon Smith, North Derbyshire officer for GMB union, said he has received an increasing number of calls from members whose companies are planning to reduce sick pay for unvaccinated employees.

“We have had quite a few companies that are now looking at changing sickness policy based on whether you’re vaccinated or not.”

Some companies are changing their policies so that if unvaccinated staff members have to self isolate or be absent with a Covid-related illness in the future they will only get statutory sick pay.

Mr Smith continued: “I think that will become more prevalent going forward because to be fair to a lot of employers, when Covid struck they did try to do what they could with people who were having to self isolate – they gave them full pay.”

He explained that while some people do refuse the vaccine because they don’t believe in it, others may decline it because of medical or religious reasons, and some pregnant women refuse it because they are uncertain of the effects it may have on their unborn child.

In cases where companies are reviewing their sickness policies, GMB is working with members and their employers to try and negotiate a balance.

Mr Smith said however that sickness pay tends to be discretionary, so most companies are within their rights to change their policies as they see fit.

The news comes after it was confirmed that 19 unvaccinated care home workers employed by Derbyshire County Council are in talks with bosses after the Government set a deadline of today (November 11) to get jabbed or lose their jobs.

Mr Smith added that it is not just care home workers who are being given ultimatums, GMB has received calls from members working in all sectors who have been told by their employers that they must have the Covid-19 jab.

“We have tried to open up communication with the employers and calm the waters down,” he said.

Mr Smith outlined that while it is now illegal for workers in care homes for the elderly to not have the Covid-19 vaccine, it is not currently illegal in other sectors.

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