Wetherspoon and coronavirus job retention scheme

26 March 2020

Further to discussions with UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, Wetherspoon is pleased to note that substantial progress has been made in the introduction of the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.

In order to assist the government and UK Hospitality, Wetherspoon has drawn up its own proposed rules as to how the scheme would work and has submitted these to the government for approval.

On the basis that the government approves these rules and, subject to confirmation that reimbursement will be implemented by the end of April, Wetherspoon will introduce the scheme immediately.

Wetherspoon has already committed that it will pay all employees this Friday (27th March) for the hours worked last week.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “As we have already confirmed, Wetherspoon will pay all our 43,000 staff this Friday for the hours worked last week. The first payment under the new scheme will be made on Friday 3 April, subject to government approval, and weekly thereafter.

“Many thanks to Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality and the government for their great efforts in dealing with the logistical issues involved in introducing a complex scheme so quickly.”

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “All companies in hospitality and leisure are caught in an impossible position whereby they need to make critical decisions about funding pay to colleagues, while enduring a period of zero income and without the certainty of when the promised government help will arrive.

“In the case of our member companies, as graphically illustrated by Wetherspoon, the top priority has been how can we get money into businesses to pay workers, when we collectively have no income and squeezed liquidity. Confirmation of when this scheme will launch into action and cash will flow into businesses so that they in turn can pay their teams, and fully participate in the recovery when the virus subsides and stability returns, would be enormously welcome.

“We are extremely grateful to the government for stepping in with this support for jobs and business but now we need urgent clarification on the detail of the scheme, particularly as finance from the banks is so slow to arrive, if at all.”

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