23 votes

IKEA has cut sick pay for unvaccinated workers, without mitigating circumstances, required to self isolate – retail giant acknowledged it was an emotive topic

12 comments

  1. [5]
    Adys
    Link
    For all the overreach that this pandemic has brought, I can’t possibly be mad at news items like this one. If you’re healthy enough to get the shot, and you choose not to get the shot, then you’re...

    For all the overreach that this pandemic has brought, I can’t possibly be mad at news items like this one.

    If you’re healthy enough to get the shot, and you choose not to get the shot, then you’re being an unnecessary burden on the system. The system is in its right to simply care as little as it can about you. This shows in insurances, sick pay, etc.

    I just … wish we would make the vaccine mandatory. Then this is no longer a question. The dallying and dancing around the issue by implementing “safe tickets” and what have you is even more of a slow burn on everyone.

    Make it mandatory, give exceptions to those who are at medical risk from taking it, done.

    23 votes
    1. [3]
      meff
      Link Parent
      Short of making it mandatory (which I wish we could), this is all we can do. Have businesses and private individuals impose these restrictions on their employees and friends.

      Short of making it mandatory (which I wish we could), this is all we can do. Have businesses and private individuals impose these restrictions on their employees and friends.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        vord
        Link Parent
        We (the USA) might not be able to mandate it directly. But could probably give a sizable tax break for anybody who can provide proof.

        We (the USA) might not be able to mandate it directly. But could probably give a sizable tax break for anybody who can provide proof.

        3 votes
    2. FirstTiger
      Link Parent
      It makes just makes plain sense from a financial perspective for IKEA to do this. No doubt it will leave some individuals feeling left out in the cold & inclined to leave the company... But that's...

      It makes just makes plain sense from a financial perspective for IKEA to do this. No doubt it will leave some individuals feeling left out in the cold & inclined to leave the company... But that's insurance. It factors monetary risk, not the insuree's feelings.

      4 votes
  2. [6]
    JXM
    Link
    I've recently come around to the notion that we should be supporting those who get vaccinated with mandatory paid leave if they get COVID, while those who are willfully unvaccinated should have to...

    I've recently come around to the notion that we should be supporting those who get vaccinated with mandatory paid leave if they get COVID, while those who are willfully unvaccinated should have to use sick time/unpaid leave and not be allowed back to work until they have completed the 10 day quarantine.

    Same with hospitals. We should prioritize treating vaccinated patients first. We are now to the point in many parts of the U.S. that they are shutting down elective surgeries again (1) at many hospitals because the system is overwhelmed by COVID patients.

    As @Adys said, those willfully unvaccinated people are choosing to be a burden on the system.

    Delta Airlines imposed a surcharge on unvaccinated staff members of its healthcare plan.

    The place I work at is currently considering this plan and I think it's a fantastic idea. Just as smokers have to pay a higher premium, so should unvaccinated people. They recently said that our insurance fund had paid out $1.2 million dollars in COVID treatment payments and 90% of that money went to unvaccinated employees. (I also wouldn't mind if they just said, "If you aren't vaccinated, you don't get covered for COVID treatments").

    --

    1 - Note that elective surgery doesn't mean something like plastic surgery. It just means that if a surgery is delayed, the patient won't immediately die.

    10 votes
    1. [5]
      gco
      Link Parent
      While I agree with your first point I'm not sure I agree with the second. I believe that everyone walking into a hospital should get the same care regardless of who they are and what actions...

      While I agree with your first point I'm not sure I agree with the second.
      I believe that everyone walking into a hospital should get the same care regardless of who they are and what actions they've taken, otherwise you start going down a path where you have to come up with a framework to assess patients where you need perfect information and you don't have it. Consider the following scenarios:

      • Should a smoking patient be delayed over a non smoker one?
      • Should someone that's overweight be delayed over someone that isn't and looks athletic?
      • A COVID patient that is unvaccinated because they live in an abusive relationship comes in, should they be delayed because of their situation?

      I think the right way to do it is to incentivise them to get the vaccine, make optional activities either more expensive or not available. If you want to go out to dinner, you must be vaccinated. If you want to travel, you must be vaccinated. If you want to attend a sports event, you must be vaccinated.

      6 votes
      1. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        This isn't about not giving them care, this is about how much they have to pay to get healthcare. With that being said I think there's more to explore here. There's been a marked difference...

        This isn't about not giving them care, this is about how much they have to pay to get healthcare.

        With that being said I think there's more to explore here. There's been a marked difference between hospitals in heavily populated areas depending on location in the world for quite some time. Very early in the Pandemic, back in February of 2020, Italy was dealing with how to triage patients when no one could possibly be vaccinated and hospitals were overrun. I'm not sure there's a right answer here outside of the typical triaging by how close to death someone is. There's rich discussion in the world about other factors that do go into this decision because we are humans, but I'll leave discussions about whether someone with kids should be prioritized over someone without and similar ideas for another place.

        I think the more interesting questions arose after vaccination was possible. There are periods of time during which there was adequate time for every adult to be vaccinated where certain hospital systems in places with low vaccination rates were so slammed that all beds were at capacity. In a situation like this where you are presented with two individuals who are in need of serious medical care and the only difference between the two is one person has been vaccinated and the other has not (and you happen to know the un-vaccinated individual refused to be vaccinated), what do you do?

        This gets at your question of whether people should be triaged based on choices in their life. However, none of your other analogies quite fit. Someone who smokes is likely suffering from addiction. You cannot determine why someone is overweight- be it from a medical condition or a 'choice' (is it a choice if you are genetically predisposed to have greater reward center activation from eating food than other individuals?). If the only information you have is vaccinated versus unvaccinated, I agree you should not make any decisions based off of this... however, if you know they refused the vaccine and you know it was simply because they disagree with being vaccinated, you have someone who is willfully making a choice which puts others in harms way. Should we prioritize individuals who are actively choosing to hurt society and humanity? I think you can make a reasonable argument that it is society that failed to teach them why it is important to value the safety and health of others, but that doesn't solve the problem at hand. At the end of the day the question is whether it's moral to prioritize healthcare for people you happen to know something negative about their value set and I think if that's the determining factor to prioritize them over someone else or vice versa and it's not based on patient acuity or other factors, I think it's reasonable for a human to make that snap judgement.

        6 votes
      2. [3]
        JXM
        Link Parent
        There have been multiple times over the past two years where our hospitals have been overwhelmed and doctors and nurses have to make choices about who to treat because they literally just can’t...

        There have been multiple times over the past two years where our hospitals have been overwhelmed and doctors and nurses have to make choices about who to treat because they literally just can’t treat everyone. They do this based on the probable outcome based on dozens of factors. Will this person go on to live a long and healthy life? In cases like that, I think vaccine status should be one of those factors.

        And regarding your examples, the first two I would use the analogy of a transplant. Smokers can be rejected from the transplant list because a doctor thinks that the organ they’ll receive will be put to better use in a non-smoker.

        And note that I said willfully unvaccinated. I used those words carefully to make sure that it covers not all unvaccinated people but those who make the choice not to do it for no logical reason. If someone’s religion legitimately disallows it or they have a medical reason not to do it, they shouldn’t be counted in that group.

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          vord
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Could we just all agree that this is an unwritten assumption when discussing vaccinated vs unvaccinated? We're generally discussing vaccination in the context of protecting the use cases for those...

          And note that I said willfully unvaccinated. I used those words carefully to make sure that it covers not all unvaccinated people but those who make the choice not to do it for no logical reason. If someone’s religion legitimately disallows it or they have a medical reason not to do it, they shouldn’t be counted in that group.

          Could we just all agree that this is an unwritten assumption when discussing vaccinated vs unvaccinated? We're generally discussing vaccination in the context of protecting the use cases for those whom can't (young children and super high risk).

          Though I firmly disagree that religion is a valid excuse. I'm ok with stuff like "not accepting blood transfusions," because the harm caused only affects the self. Vaccination is about protecting the group, not the self. Skipping out on it, for any non-medical reason, is saying "I am more important than everyone else."

          8 votes
          1. JXM
            Link Parent
            Unfortunately, when you don't mention it, anti-vaxxers like to use that as their first attack, which just distracts from the actual issue. I do agree that religion alone isn't a valid excuse,...

            Unfortunately, when you don't mention it, anti-vaxxers like to use that as their first attack, which just distracts from the actual issue.

            I do agree that religion alone isn't a valid excuse, especially since I've seen tons of people I know for a fact aren't religious use it as an excuse to not get vaccinated. I've even heard a few co-workers who refuse to get vaccinated bragging about using it as an excuse.

            4 votes
  3. wcerfgba
    Link
    Although I can sympathise with the frustration around people who are able to get vaccinated and refuse to do so, and I can understand the desire for policies like these which prioritise support...

    Although I can sympathise with the frustration around people who are able to get vaccinated and refuse to do so, and I can understand the desire for policies like these which prioritise support (be that economic, health, or other) for the can-get-and-are-vaccinated over the can-get-but-aren't-vaccinated, I think there are a couple of additional considerations which are important for evaluating these policies and determining next steps.

    First is that there are people who are unable to get vaccinated due to other health issues. This raises various questions such as "what is a valid reason for exemption?", "who can declare that a person is exempt?" and "how can an individual demonstrate their exemption to their employer, healthcare providers, nightclubs, etc.?".

    Determining the set of valid reasons for exemption, and evaluating if an individual satisfies any of those reasons, are not value-free decisions, and there are grey/debatable areas. If I have a phobia of needles, and the very thought of getting a vaccine is enough to make me feel faint, is that a valid reason for exemption? What about if I have a family history of a blood clotting disorder, but I don't know if I have that disorder? What if there is no easy way to test for that, or what if my doctor flat out refuses to run a test for that? Should it be sufficient for an individual to say "I have concerns about how this vaccine (or vaccines in general) will interact with my personal health, and for that reason I am not getting vaccinated?".

    Assuming that some of these grey areas cannot be conclusively settled, and that we can't write an 'algorithm' to determine if someone should our should not be vaccinated (because value judgements are inherently subjective, and our societies are large and contain a range of beliefs and opinions), then there have to be some people with the authority to issue a vaccine exemption based on their personal judgement. Most likely that would be individual doctors. However, we know that discrimination and bias is prevalent in the medical community, and so if we are to make doctors the arbiters of vaccine exemptions, we need to examine the demographics of vaccine refusal to determine how these proposed policies will interact with existing inequalities.

    This is my second and key point: prevalence of vaccination refusal and different reasons for vaccine refusal/exemption are not likely to be evenly distributed across different population groups. If vaccine refusal is higher amongst the poor, ethnic minorities, or people with certain disabilities -- all groups we know have a harder time accessing healthcare, experience discrimination from within healthcare systems, and have lower trust in healthcare providers -- then these policies risk making those existing inequalities worse, because we are forcing these people into a situation where they either don't have a choice, or they don't perceive they have a choice: people who begrudgingly accept the vaccine will have a lower trust in their systems of healthcare, labour, or government; and people who continue to refuse the vaccine will be materially worse off in regards to healthcare, employment, wages, or access to civil amenities.

    To be clear, I'm not saying that all the people who have refused the vaccine so far are within their right to do so and have completely valid reasons. What I am saying is that, like any policy decision, we need to carefully evaluate the current state of affairs and the potential consequences of each policy option we have, with a particular view to how those who are most marginalised will be affected. My advice to policy-makers, both in businesses like IKEA and private healthcare organisations, as well as public bodies like CDC, is to adopt a co-productive, systems led approach to understanding the problem: go and talk to people from these different marginalised groups and communities, bring them into the policy production process, understand their needs and concerns, and work to develop policies which do not eliminate choices for these people or risk deepening existing inequalities.

    3 votes