We are starting to catalogue examples of good practice during the coronavirus pandemic to show what can be done – in addition to our more in-depth case studies. We also want to hear from you if your employer is failing to rise to the challenge.
workingmums.co.uk will be starting a regular watch on good practice during the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes as the Social Market Foundation suggests companies should sign up to a pledge to pay more tax and treat workers fairly in exchange for emergency support during the crisis.
It says those companies which fail to uphold “standards of good conduct” could be named and shamed and even prohibited from bidding for public contracts.
Meanwhile, Asda has said it would pay full leave to colleagues who are vulnerable, including those over 70 or pregnant, if they are affected by the outbreak and Marks & Spencer will hand out a 15% bonus to frontline workers and staff are being offered voluntary furlough on full pay. The Post Office has guaranteed that all independent postmasters who keep their branches open will receive 100% of their pay in April and 90% in May and Nestlé has said it will pay full salaries to employees affected by coronavirus-related work stoppages for a minimum of three months.
It will also provide cash advances or loans to employees in financial difficulties and implement generous sick leave arrangements for staff who may have contracted the virus.
Ocado has introduced strict safety measures to protect staff. The retailer is checking each employee’s temperature when they get to warehouses and has also bought COVID-19 testing kits for its frontline staff. Ocado will also pay a 10% bonus on all hours worked to those who have to physically come into work since 23rd March “and while the crisis continues,” while those directly affected by COVID-19 and unable to work will receive sick pay from day one. The company is attempting to recruit a further 3,000 staff to help out with the increase in demand and has also launched a system which will allow other companies to send unneeded staff to its warehouses.
On childcare, A S Watson whose companies include Superdrug, savers and The Perfume Shop is offering a support package, including from 23rd March full pay for parents who are unable to work remotely or in another business situation, due to school closures; and, backdated from 16th March, full pay for anyone unable to work due to sickness or self-isolation, including vulnerable members of staff, for example, those with existing conditions. Employees affected by distribution centre, service or store closures are either being redeployed in the business or where that’s not possible, paid in full.
On mental health, Aggregate Industries is sending a weekly newsletter from its mental health sponsor and CFO John Bowater to all employees, signposting them to useful articles and resources.
EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic are asking employees who have not worked because of the coronavirus pandemic if they want to work alongside doctors and nurses at new makeshift NHS units.
Many airline staff are trained in first aid and CPR or hold other clinical qualifications. Those who sign up will receive training and will help NHS workers with changing beds and other non-medical tasks at the hospitals being built in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
*If you know of examples of good – or bad – practice by employers, please send them to us at [email protected]. We will treat all submissions anonymously.