A retailer’s plans to stop paying staff that take a day off sick have
received the backing of shop workers’ union Usdaw.
Tesco has announced a new pilot scheme at about 20 stores where workers will
not be paid for the first three days off in a bid to bring down the number of
sick days taken by staff.
The 12-month trial will affect only new staff and Tesco insists it is just
one part of a series of trials that includes incentives to reduce absence and
extra holidays for staff who book time off well in advance.
Usdaw national officer Pauline Foulkes has written to union representatives
at the company expressing support for the scheme and claiming that it will help
identify ways of improving sickness absence policies for the business and
"Usdaw is supporting this trial because we want to have an input, share
the learning and have a say in shaping and influencing the outcomes.
"The majority of staff who have been approached have been willing to
support the trial and take advantage of other options available," she
However, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) warned that removing sick
pay could lead to low morale and high staff turnover.
"Good management is about identifying reasons for absence and
developing a solution. It’s not about penalising people who are genuinely
ill," said CMI director of professional affairs Christine Hayhurst.
The CBI estimates that sickness absence is costing UK employers £11.6bn a
year, while a survey of 2,000 people found that a third had taken a sickie when
they were too tired or hung-over to face work.