Wilko’s CEO rejected his Covid policy, after Mirror investigation revealed employees were asked to return to work – even if they tested positive for the virus.
More than 20,000 employees at Wilko have been issued a memo saying they should go to work if they have Covid but have no symptoms, leaving employees and the public worried for their welfare.
However, Wilko has now come up with a new “raise of hands” response following the unusual backlash from the public.
Jerome Saint-Marc, Wilko CEO told The Mirror: “When we make a mistake, we raise our hands to admit it and work to correct the situation. Today’s news highlighted a number of misinformation. in our Covid-19 policies and I want to reassure all our customers and team members that:.”
Mr. Saint-Marc said that under the new revised guidance, team members who have symptoms/tested positive for Covid should remain at home and avoid contact with others. “This will help reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19,” a statement added.
A Mirror report on Monday said more than 20,000 employees have been told they should go to work, even if they test positive for the virus. Coronavirus.
The policy means that if they work because they don’t want to risk spreading the virus to employees and customers, they won’t get paid.
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The memo says: “If you test positive for Covid-19 and feel well, you can continue to work. If you feel too healthy to work, you should follow the absence policy. ”
The retailer’s rules come into effect on 24 February in England, and four days later in Wales. This policy will be in effect at stores and warehouses in Scotland from Monday 21 March.
It comes as the number of people hospitalized with Covid rose to 1,521 on March 9 – the highest number since late January.
Clara Phipps, who posted the chain’s new sickness pay guidelines online, said her daughter, a Wilko employee, had returned home with the memo.
“We have clinically vulnerable family members in our household, as well as many of her colleagues,” she told The Mirror.
“We are utterly disappointed by this callous interpretation of the current guidelines.”
People in the UK are no longer required to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19, according to Government guidelines in force in the UK on February 22nd.
That means you can technically stay active even if you have a virus.
However, guidance is in place until April 1 for everyone to quarantine for a full five days.
“We have CEV members in our household and the lax attitude towards health is extremely worrying,” said Ms. Phipps.
The guideline remains that if you are able to work from home, you should do so to avoid spreading the virus to others.
If you can’t work from home but feel well enough to work, talk to your employer.
An unnamed employee at a Wilko warehouse in the UK told The Mirror that staff were notified of the new policy last month.
“During a briefing, team members are told that if they have Covid-19 and are well enough, they can still come to work, but if they have Covid-19 and don’t show up, it will be considered frequent absences.
“How it works now and whether you get paid for the absence is up to the manager to decide,” she said.
Ms. King, whose name has been changed to protect her anonymity, said the company’s Covid absence policy stipulates that you will only receive full sickness benefits for the first time.
“Employees are entitled to one Covid-related illness according to the company’s sick pay, then SSP,” one worker told us.
Another said: “So if you take time off with an injury, and then get Covid-19, you won’t get paid the second time, they’re basically telling you, you won’t get paid even if you have Covid.-19,” she said.
Ms King said staff, many of whom are just above minimum wage and facing a cost-of-living crisis, worry that if they take a day off, they will lose a vital part of their salary. that day.
“The employees are now coming in to work on the virus, because if it’s their second, they won’t get paid.”
She said hundreds of employees have left the business since it announced a change to the previous sick pay policy during the pandemic.
A Mirror investigation as Covid numbers spike in 2020 reveals plans to withdraw sick pay of all 21,000 workers after their second.
The rules mean that if a worker falls ill more than once a year, they will not be paid more than the statutory minimum.
While the following sequence suspending sick pay reformsit pushed them through last August.
Until then, Wilko employees are entitled to up to 4 days of sick leave from the company before moving back to the first 3 days of unpaid sick leave.
But under the new rules, if a Wilko employee falls ill for one day, he or she will not receive additional company sickness benefits for the next 12 months.
“The amount of good people leaving is scary, everyone is looking for work elsewhere,” she said.
The new policy came just two months after Wilko announced plans to close 15 storesresulting in the loss of about 67 jobs.
The home retailer has opened talks with homeowners and in January confirmed that stores on ‘unfavorable terms’ would close this year as part of a “long-term growth strategy”. ” of the string.
Jerome Saint-Marc, chief executive officer of Wilko, said: “Our history is rich in serving customers and communities going back to 1930 but there’s no denying how people shop with us and where they want to shop with us is changing.”
Of the stores marked closed, 11 branches have replacement wilko within a 5-mile radius.
“As a business, we’re growing and this includes working with landlords on more favorable terms, as well as reviewing store locations and formats. We’ll continue to work together to make it more affordable. make its business better to secure the future of its more than 16,000 group members,” added the retail boss.
Wilko will close its stores in Bournemouth, Stockton, Shipley, The Fort, Scunthorpe, Narborough Road, Grantham, Redditch, Rotherham, Skegness, Sutton Coldfield, Orpington, Edmonton Green, Llanelli, Merthyr Tydfil and Cleethorpes.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/wilko-u-turns-after-mirror-26468781 Wilko returns after Mirror investigation discovered 20000 employees were asked to work with Covid