Ikea has cut sick pay for staff unvaccinated against coronavirus who need to self-isolate, the furniture firm has announced.

The company admitted vaccination status is an “emotive topic” but said its policy will need to be updated with changing circumstances.

As infection rates rise, companies are seeing increased staff shortages as a result of the Omicron variant.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the current infection rate is the “fastest growth” in Covid cases since the start of the pandemic.

Speaking at a press briefing in Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: “Our United Kingdom is in the midst of the fastest growth in Covid cases that we’ve ever known.

“Previous waves of the pandemic didn’t have a single day with more than 100,000 new cases reported, one day last week we had 200,000 people test positive.

“And the latest figure today is another 218,000, though that includes some delayed reports.

“So, anyone who thinks our battle with Covid is over, I’m afraid is profoundly wrong.”

Ikea issue statement over Covid policy change

Unvaccinated Ikea employees could now be paid just £96.35 a week – the minimum for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The Mail on Sunday reports the average wages at Ikea are between £400 and £450 depending on location and staff are entitled to enhanced sick pay.

The retailer, which employs around 10,000 people in the UK, issued a statement explaining its decision.

It read: "Fully vaccinated co-workers or those with mitigating circumstances will receive full pay for self-isolations.

"Unvaccinated co-workers will be paid in line with our company absence policy for self-isolation, with close-contact isolation being paid at Statutory Sick Pay. 

"We appreciate that this is an emotive topic and all circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis, therefore anyone in doubt or concerned about their situation is encouraged to speak to their manager."