Wessex Water cuts sick pay for unvaccinated staff forced to self-isolate

The firm said that staff absences had doubled in the past week due to Covid

Wessex Water is among the latest firms to cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff who need to self-isolate.

Any employee without a valid medical reason who has not had at least one Covid-19 jab or a vaccination booked in will only receive statutory sick pay when they are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

The rate is as little as £96.35 a week, but until now all Wessex Water staff have received full pay when they needed to self-isolate.

It follows a similar move by Ikea earlier this week, where average wages are between £400 and £450 a week.

However, by law, unvaccinated people contacted by test and trace teams must remain at home.

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The utility firm’s move – mirrored in the private sector – comes amid soaring staff absences.

The firm provides water and sewerage service to 2.8 million people in the South West of England, including Bristol.

Wessex Water, its headquarters near Bath pictured here, say many staff members are currently off due to Covid

A Wessex Water spokesperson said: “The vast majority of our workforce has been vaccinated and it’s important as a company providing essential services with key worker employees, the remainder get vaccinated to protect themselves, customers and their colleagues.

“To make it easy for our staff, vaccine appointments can be booked in work time.

“Absences due to Covid have doubled in the last week, so we need everyone to be available so we can continue to provide uninterrupted essential water and sewerage services.”

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Wessex Water said that throughout the pandemic it had not furloughed staff and anyone who had to self-isolate received full pay.