WILKO has performed a u-turn on its Covid policy after a leaked memo suggested staff who tested positive for the illness should continue to work if they had no symptoms.
Red-faced chiefs at the High Street giant, which has stores in Worcester, Redditch, Droitwich and Malvern, were forced into the climbdown after the memo to some 20,000 staff was leaked on social media.
The policy meant if they called in sick to avoid spreading the virus to staff and customers, they would not get paid.
The memo said: “If you test positive for Covid-19 and feel well you can continue to come to work, if you feel too unwell to work, you should follow the absence policy.”
The retailer’s rules came into force on February 24 in England and four days later in Wales.
The policy was due to apply in Scottish stores and warehouses from Monday (March 21).
People with Covid in England are no longer legally required to self-isolate with all restrictions now removed, but it is still recommended.
Wilko’s initial memo provoked outcry on social media and was blasted by unions such as the TUC which said people should not be forced into making a ‘terrible choice’ over going into work with Covid or risking losing income by self-isolating at home.
However in a statement this morning, Wilko chief executive Jerome Saint-Marc, said: “”When we get something wrong, we hold our hands up, admit it, and work to correct the situation.”
“Today’s news has highlighted some miscommunication within our Covid-19 policies, and I wanted to reassure all our customers and team members that…”
“Our advice to team members that have Covid symptoms/test positive is that while they’re no longer required by law to self-isolate, they should still stay at home and avoid contact with others. This will help reduce the chance of spreading Covid-19.”
It added: “We operate an enhanced company sick pay policy and support those team members most in need, including those with Covid-19. We’ll continue to look after our team members to the best of our ability.”
“As throughout our 92 years on the High Street, the safety and well-being of our shoppers and teams is at the heart of business and we’re truly sorry for any understandable concerns our communications may have raised.”