John Lewis has said it  doesn’t “believe it’s right” to treat unvaccinated workers differently to those who have taken the vaccine.

Writing on a LinkedIn blog, Andrew Murphy the retailer’s group operations director said while the company was “hugely supportive” of the country’s vaccination programme, it would not follow high street rivals and its employees  would get full sick pay.

John Lewis is owned by its employees, who are referred to as partners, who receive an annual profit share – was “hugely supportive of the UK vaccination programme” and had given staff time off to get their jabs.

Next, Ikea, Ocado and Morrisons pay unvaccinated staff statutory sick pay (SSP) of £96.35 a week rather than full sick pay.

Mr Murphy said: “When life increasingly seems to present opportunities to create division – and with hopes rising that the pandemic phase of Covid may be coming to an end – we’re confident that this is the right approach for us.”

He added that John Lewis did not believe it was right to differentiate between people who choose to vaccinate and those who do not.

Workers at Wessex Water are also penalised for not being vaccinated, this is also the case at a number of large companies in the US.

Mr Murphy said: “We cast no judgment on the decisions of any other organisation; in fact we’ve enjoyed how united businesses – retailers especially – have been in the face of these huge corporate and societal challenges.” 

Meanwhile, the supermarket chains Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda all give unvaccinated workers full company sick pay when they are isolating due to exposure.

Britain has clear rules on isolation requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who come into contact with anyone with Covid-19. People who are unvaccinated must isolate for 10 days, even if they do not test positive. 

The isolation period for people who are vaccinated is five days if they test negative consecutively on the last two days of isolation.