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Usdaw welcomes that the Job Retention Scheme is to be based on average pay and calls on employers to top up pay to 100%

Date: 27 March 2020 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed the Government listening to their calls to base the Job Retention Scheme on average pay, rather than contractual pay, which for many in retail is often lower. Usdaw has called on employers to top up their workers’ pay to 100% of average earnings, so that low-paid workers are not left out of pocket.
Most Usdaw members are hourly paid and will be ‘employees whose pay varies’. Therefore, employers will be able to access a subsidy based on the higher of a furloughed employee’s average monthly earnings over the past 12 months or their earnings from the same month last year. This calculation will include any additional hours worked.
Where Usdaw members are paid a salaried wage, any regular bonus or commission is unlikely to be included in the subsidy paid by Government. However, we would still call upon employers to make up these payments. The guidance around bonus payments, especially those linked to hourly rate which are common in warehouses and food manufacturing sites, remains unclear and we will be seeking clarification on this point.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “There are many workers, particularly in retail, who are contracted for fairly few hours each week, but regularly work many more to make a weekly wage they can live on. These short-hours contract workers rely on this regular additional money, so for their income to have been drastically reduced to 80% of contract pay would have put them in real hardship.
“So we welcome that the Government has heard our representations about short-hours workers and confirmed that the assistance does apply to average income. However that’s still a big drop in pay especially for people who are already on a limited income. We call on employers, wherever they can to bridge the gap, to pay our members their full pay if they are unable to work. We also still need significant improvements on Statutory Sick Pay and clarity on average bonuses, which can make up a significant element of income.
“We urge employers to stand by their staff, keep them employed and maintain workers’ incomes to ensure that they and their families are not plunged into poverty. The very fabric of our society relies on workers and employers pulling together and looking after each other as we deal with the Coronavirus emergency.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Government guidance for employers: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Government guidance for employees: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers