// Sainsbury’s staff who are unwell or self-isolating will receive full pay for 14 days, or 12 weeks if they’re elderly or vulnerable
// Big 4 grocer also launches regular shopping hour for NHS staff, elderly & vulnerable
// Customers asked to follow social distancing guidelines and pay by card where possible
Sainsbury’s has confirmed that all staff who are feeling unwell or self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic will be paid in full.
The Big 4 grocer also unveiled new measures to assist elderly and vulnerable customers as well as NHS and social care workers.
However, unlike its Big 4 competitors and many other smaller grocery chains, Sainsbury’s has not yet announced a recruitment drive to help cope with soaring demand during the crisis.
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Nonetheless, Sainsbury’s said it was “fully committed” to supporting all colleagues who are unwell or self-isolating, and that they would receive full pay for the full period of 14 days.
The grocery giant added that it would also pay elderly and vulnerable staff in full if the government decides they should self-isolate for 12 weeks.
Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s said it would be reserving the first hour – 8am-9am – in all of its supermarkets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for NHS staff and social care workers, alongside elderly and vulnerable customers.
The announcement follows feedback from customers and staff after the supermarket chain reserved an hour in stores for elderly and vulnerable customers, as well as carers, on Thursday March 19.
Sainsbury’s said the dedicated shopping hour will be now extended to NHS staff and social care workers as well, and that these customers just need to show their pass or ID when they visit.
The retailer also confirmed it would consolidate its opening hours to ensure more colleagues can be stocking shelves and serving shoppers during the times customers need help the most.
This means that from next week, all Sainsbury’s supermarkets will be open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, including those with an Argos store.
Opening hours in supermarkets on Sunday, in petrol stations and in smaller Sainsbury’s Local stores will remain the same.
The retailer said the move would ensure that the dedicated shopping hour for NHS and social care workers as well as elderly and vulnerable customers will be consistent across all stores.
Shop floor staff are also being asked to try their best to keep a supply of essential items aside for these hours, so that they are available for those that need it most.
Finally, Sainsbury’s said it would now ask customers in-store to stand one metre away from shop floor staff wherever possible and pay with card rather than cash at tills.
Chief executive Mike Coupe urged customers to take simple measures to reduce risk.
“Please also treat our colleagues and other customers with kindness and respect,” he said.
“These are unprecedented circumstances and our colleagues are being asked to come to work every day while so many others are being asked to stay at home.
“We all need them to keep coming to work to feed the nation – a small thank you goes a really long way.”