Royal Mail will not be awarding full sick pay to staff who are self-isolating due to exposure to coronavirus, a spokesperson has confirmed.
Speaking to Scram News, a spokesperson from the postal monolith said that while it would be paying employees with symptoms of the virus, it would not pay those unable to work who don’t have symptoms.
This is despite the government instructing those who’ve been exposed to people with symptoms to self-isolate for 14 days.
The spokesperson said:
“Where a colleague has to look after a dependant, such as a child, or chooses to remain at home our normal approach applies. Colleagues can take holiday, unpaid time off or work flexibly in agreement with their line manager.”
Meanwhile, the most vulnerable group of people – those who’ve received a letter from the government to this effect – will get sick pay from the company even if they don’t have symptoms.
Royal Mail staff are included in the list of key workers who are still allowed to work during the coronavirus pandemic.
But while key workers are expected to carry on their jobs, their increased risk of coming into contact with the virus surely places a duty of care on employers.
Unite the Union points out on its website that people are now entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, even if they are not infected (and are instead isolating because a family member has symptoms).
Therefore, “it is good practice for employers to pay contractual sick pay to those advised to self-isolate,” Unite says.
Indeed, a spokesperson from Amazon – a company that has drawn criticism for its treatment of workers in the past – told us that all self-isolating employees are receiving full sick pay.
“We will alert any associate who had close contact with a diagnosed individual at our building and will ask them to not return to the site and to self-quarantine for 14-days, and we will pay them for their time at home.”
Meanwhile, supermarket chains Tesco and Sainsbury’s also told Scram News they are paying a full wage to their staff in quarantine.
And this is not the first time Royal Mail has been attacked for its approach to coronavirus.
Last week, staff in Kent and Scotland walked out over concerns that postal workers are not being issued with sufficient protective equipment and are being forced to violate the government’s social distancing measures.
Royal Mail maintains that it has “introduced a range of social distancing measures designed to protect both our colleagues and our customers.”
“We continue to follow public health authority preventative guidance,” the company says.
And is not the first time that coronavirus has separated the wheat from the chaff in terms of fair employment practices.
Initially, Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin said he would not be paying staff while pubs are closed. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic staff – a company founded by billionaire Richard Branson – are being forced to take six weeks of unpaid leave.
It seems as though workers at Royal Mail are being asked to choose between observing the government’s guidelines – designed to keep us all safe – and facing financial problems.
We all need to pull together to defeat this virus. Including company owners.