Supermarket chain Tesco is testing a scheme where workers are not paid for
the first three days they are off sick.
The trial is taking place in 20 selected stores and is part of a
three-pronged strategy to reduce ‘sickies’.
The other two strands are offering staff extra holiday, which it is hoped
they will use for the odd day off when they might otherwise have called in
sick, and a voucher scheme to reward people who do not take time off sick.
A spokeswoman stressed the trial was not about penalising workers who were
genuinely ill. "It is about helping colleagues in the workplace to take
planned absence whenever they can," she said.
If workers are ill for more than three days, they can revert to claiming
sick pay, as well as getting compensation for the previous unpaid days.
But the Work Foundation warned that, while Tesco’s scheme could be effective
in tackling short-term absence, it was still long-term absence that was the
real worry in the workplace.
Stephen Bevan, director of research, said: "The Tesco’s scheme won’t
deal with long-term absence. It may well cut down on the irritation factor of
staff throwing ‘sickies’, but it won’t necessarily cut down on the overall
costs of managing absence by that much."