New Covid rules mean that people in England cannot work for 28 days without having to prove their illness.
The unions have notified members of their new rights which, when combined with a change in testing rules announced this week, could result in people choosing to stay home.
MPs have called on the government to reverse the rule change, fearing it could worsen the personnel crisis, reports The telegraph.
Hospitals, schools and municipalities as well as railway companies are already discontinuing services due to a lack of staff in the Omicron crisis.
Anyone wishing to be unable to work for more than eight days due to illness needed to be notified of illness before the rule was changed.
But that has now changed, so you can stay 28 days off without seeing a family doctor. The change was made to allow doctors to deliver the vaccine.
However, when combined with changes to the testing rules, thousands of people could choose to stay home.
As of January 11th, if you test positive for Covid with a lateral flow test performed at home, you will not need to take a PCR test to detect disease.
The public sector union, Unison, told its members: “The UK government has temporarily changed the provision of fitness notes until January 27, 2022. If you fall ill on or after December 10, 2021, employers can only ask employees for evidence of illness (such as a certificate of fitness) after 28 days of illness (including days off). “
Unite told members, “Evidence of illness cannot be requested earlier than 28 days”.
More than 20 NHS trusts have already reported critical incidents, 10 percent of rail workers are sick or in isolation, and there are fears that schools will soon return to online teaching as the government says staff absences are on the rise will.