Minimum wage workers at one of Argos’ warehouses will be offered an 80p an hour bonus leading up to Christmas if they don’t take any time off sick.
The scheme has been predicted by employment lawyers to almost definitely result in “indirect disability discrimination” as any worker taking one sick day off in any given week forfeits the bonus.
According to The Guardian, Argos sent a note to agency staff in the Basildon depot reading: “Great news starting this Sunday. Agency colleagues will not lose the 80p uplift if they go home due to no work etc, but they will lose it if they go sick or don’t attend for work.
“If they go sick or don’t attend on one day, they lose their uplift for all of that week, but they then start fresh the next week with another opportunity to earn the uplift.”
Despite an Argos spokesperson confirming the note and stating that it fully complies with the Disability Discrimination Act, employment lawyers have warned that it could result in a legal challenge.
The scheme would see employees with a disability disproportionately affected, as those who may not be able to help regular absences will miss out on an uplift in wages.
To ensure this wasn’t the case, Argos would have to look at each individual and ensure that those absent were not losing the bonus due to a disability.
Argos continued: “As we prepare for our peak Christmas trading period it is a business priority to increase our temporary workforce to help meet higher demand and deliver an unbeatable customer experience.
“Additional resource is at a premium in the run-up to Christmas so to ensure we attract, retain and increase the attendance of our temporary workers, we offer an attendance bonus of 80p per hour, which applies to all agency staff across all of our distribution centres.
“We take the treatment of all staff – whether directly employed by us or indirectly via a third party agency – extremely seriously.”