High street retailer Next has confirmed it has cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff who are self-isolating due to Covid exposure.
The company, which employs around 44,000 people, said all employees who test positive for Covid-19 – regardless of whether they are vaccinated – will be paid in full.
However, unvaccinated staff who are required to isolate because they have been identified as a close contact of someone with the virus will only receive statutory sick pay unless there are mitigating circumstances.
The policy, which was first reported by the BBC, comes after employees witnessed a jump in absences in recent weeks due to the rapid spread of the Omicron strain of the virus.
It comes after a number of other firms, including Morrisons and Ikea, introduced similar policies for unvaccinated workers.
Next currently pays store sales staff and stock assistants between £6.55 and £9.21 an hour and warehouse operatives between £9.30 and £11.26 an hour.
However, unvaccinated staff who have not tested positive but are self-isolating could receive as little at £96.35 per week, the national minimum for statutory sick pay.
Last month, self-isolation regulations were changed for vaccinated people, meaning they do not need to isolate even if they are in close contact with someone who has tested positive but are expected to take daily lateral flow tests.
However, the rules still require unvaccinated close contacts of people with the virus to self-isolate for 10 full days after their date of exposure.
It comes a week after the retailer reported strong Christmas trading on the back of soaring demand for partywear.
However, the company also said that deliveries were hit before Christmas due to staff shortfalls in warehousing and distribution networks.