Workers at some of our biggest retailers are only receiving part of their pay during lockdowns.
1 NEWS understands optometry retailer OPSM told staff during February’s three-day lockdown in Auckland that they’d only be paid 25 per cent of their contracted hours and they could take annual leave if they wanted to top up their pay.
First Union says multinational clothing chain H&M only paid its staff 60 per cent of their usual pay during that lockdown.
The seven-day lockdown means the Government’s wage subsidy kicks in, but First Union’s Tali Williams says she’s already heard from retail workers worried about whether they’ll be paid this week.
“It’s really important that big profitable employers are coming out this week and telling their employees they will be covered this week in terms of their income,” she told 1 NEWS.
“There’s obviously a wage subsidy available for those employers, but they should be making sure those employees have their full income. We don’t want to hear about situations where employers are paying 25 per cent, 60 per cent of their wages and profiting handsomely.”
Some of our biggest retailers – Bunnings, Kmart and The Warehouse – all say they are fully compensating their workers.
Mitre 10 told 1 NEWS because each of its 84 stores are individually owned, its members have their own practices and there may be variations store from store.
“We do have big retailers and big banks who continue to do well profit wise and should be making sure their workers are covered well in these situations,” Williams says.
There are also concerns about people going in to work when they are sick and should be isolating, or after a Covid-19 test. Government support payments, including a one off $350 Short Term Absence Payment is available for workers.
“It’s not a time for people to go to their doctors to get a medical certificate. They’re told to stay home if they are sick, so employers need to take people through it and make sure they are staying home sick, on pay, because as soon as there is that fear of loss of income, people are more likely to go into work sick,” Williams says.
Neither H&M or OPSM owner Luxottica responded to requests for comment.
Are you a worker who hasn’t received full pay during lockdowns? Contact Katie Bradford Katie.Bradford@tvnz.co.nz