Sick pay cuts for unvaccinated employees – can they really do that?

As more and more high profile companies in the UK are hitting the headlines for slashing sick pay benefits for the unvaccinated, many people are asking how they are allowed to do this?

Firstly, headlines can be misleading. Yes, changes to sick pay are being implemented but not for those who have actually tested positive for Covid 19. So far, the reduction of Enhanced Company Sick Pay to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is only for those that are unvaccinated (without exemption) and required by law to self-isolate as they are a close contact of someone who is confirmed as positive – if you are vaccinated you do not need to do this and can continue working.

This does raise questions as to how a company can simply change their terms and conditions of employment so easily without consultation but, as any good employment lawyer will tell you, it all depends on what is in the contract. If an Enhanced Company Sick Pay is described as discretionary, this policy can be amended or removed as long as the changes are implemented fairly across the whole company and not just targeted at one group or individual.

Although these decisions seem to be focused on the financial impact of losing employees from the work place, the moral questions can start to be raised on whether the UK is heading towards no-jab no-job becoming acceptable.