Next has become the latest big corporate name to take issue with unvaccinated staff as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 pushes up absence rates.
The fashion-to-homewares retailer said on Thursday sick pay for unvaccinated staff who must self-isolate could be cut to the Statutory Sick Pay minimum rate of £96.35 a week.
The company stressed that unvaccinated workers who test positive for COVID would still receive its full rate of sick pay.
A spokesperson said: “It’s highly emotive but we have to balance the needs of the business with those of workers and shareholders.”
Next’s move follows a similar one by furniture retailer Ikea and signals a growing shift towards such policies in Europe which have been more prevalent in the United States.
Many US companies have been using vaccine requirements to protect employees and avoid operations being disrupted by mass staff absences.
Why is Next doing this?
The firm is also looking for ways to cut its cost base.
It warned last week that it saw prices rising by up to 6% to help account for a leap in its own bills.
The company put the blame partly on labour shortages pushing up wage demands.
Other factors included rising shipping and raw material costs.