Wilko is set to remove sick day payment for its warehouse and shop floor staff after their second absence within a year.

The value retailer has said staff will not receive sick pay following their first day of absence or for any subsequent day taken within a 12-month period.

Employees who have been with the business for less than a year will also receive no sick pay at all.

The new policy will be enforced from April 1 onwards. The retailer said it has been put in place to curb its “high sickness absence levels” and bring it in line with competitors.

Wilko said it will still offer sick pay beyond the statutory minimum under “exceptional circumstances” and for those that are seriously ill.

The value retailer told The Sun the move was “not related in any way to the Covid-19 outbreak” and that in the event that staff were to contract coronavirus they would still receive sick pay.

A statement from Wilko said: “We’ve been in talks with our team members and their elected representatives since January regarding routine changes to our company sick pay to bring it in line with other businesses.

“We’re committed to finding a way forward that provides care for those who need it most and prevents the minority taking advantage of our policy. Company sick pay will remain for any team members who are seriously ill.

“We’re removing company sick pay from the second absence, and any subsequent absences, within a 12-month rolling period. Therefore, most team members will continue to be eligible for company sick pay and everyone will be entitled to receive statutory sick pay.

“We’ve offered numerous alternatives and different ways of working to find a solution that is simple and fair for everyone and, more importantly, we’ll continue to make sure that team members who are seriously ill have the support they need. As a responsible business, we’ll always do the right thing in exceptional circumstances.”