Coronavirus: Sainsbury’s announces full pay for self-isolating staff

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Coronavirus: Sainsbury’s announces full pay for self-isolating staff
Unlike its Big 4 competitors, Sainsbury's has not yet announced a recruitment drive to help cope with soaring demand.
// 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.”

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17 COMMENTS

    • My ex-wife works two days/wk at Sainsbury’s. She is 66yrs old and a diabetic. She has just been told dhe will not be paid if she self-isolates as she is not over 70 and diabetics don’t count!
      Sainsbury telling the press one thing and their staff another! Disgraceful!

      • Exactly the case with my wife. Was diagnosed as with COVID-19 and told by NHS to isolate for 14 days. After 7 days the store manager was on the phone telling her she had to return to work as after 7 days the virus would have gone, if she still felt unwell it must be some other illness of which she’d face disciplinary action if you took anymore time off. So bare this in mind next time your shopping in Sainsbury’s. The checkout staff could be confirmed cases they have been forced back to work.

  1. Interesting, my mum is 72 and works for Argos (part of Sainsbury’s group) and has been told categorically on Friday 20th March that she needs to come to work and there is no ‘official line’ from the gov. She cannot afford not to be paid. It’s so wrong that’s she’s effectively being forced to risk her health.

  2. It seems the official Sainsbury’s statements do not reflect what is happening in the stores . My husband (67) has been told he has to work until 10pm although the shop shuts at 8pm with no commercial reason given . The response has been if I tell you to do it as the manager , you do it .
    Perhaps the message of kindness , respect and gratitude from customers needs to be communicated to the managers in stores .

  3. As Aldi are installing screens at checkouts this week to afford some additional protection for their staff (and customers) why aren’t Sainsburys and indeed the other big stores following suit.Do they just intend replacing staff on the front line as they fall like canon fodder?

  4. This is untrue! My father has to self isolate due to underlying health conditions and my mother is expected to be at work, under governor guidelines she should not be going out to work as risks bringing the infection to her husband who she lives with! If staff take 2 weeks off due to immediate family you live with having an underlying medical condition staff are being offered 10% of their weekly wage for 2 weeks! Get a grip sainsburys!

    • They are not having to recruit as most of the staff are part time ( not always by choice) so they can get them to work extra.
      Will they pay my daughter who has worked there part time for 7 years with only a few days sick in all that time? I have been off work 1 week as a care worker because I felt unwell. My daughter took the time off in case it was Corona Virus. She said she will not get paid as she has not got the virus. My company and Gov rules say she should take another week off in case she has picked up the virus. Sainsbury’s didn’t give her any advice, just to come back when she thought it was right.

  5. I work for Sainsbury’s & I can’t shop during my breaks so by the time I finish there is nothing for me or my colleagues,
    & that includes essential

  6. What happens if a family member is in the high risk category and family members being told by medical staff they should stay at home, will they get paid?

  7. This is a load of rubbish! I work for Argos and we’ve been told that we will NOT be paid if we do not come to work at Salisbury’s. This is disgusting and is a blatant act of £ before health. If you cannot secure a placement at a Salisbury’s store you will not be paid. Once this is over and life returns to normal I urge my fellow colleagues to rethink who they work for.

  8. I work for Waitrose, my 9 year old daughter has been ill with more than one symptom of COVID19 and we (household of 4) are in self isolation. I’ve been told that I need to “owe them” the days I take off…. is this actually legal?! What happened to SSP?

  9. They are not having to recruit as most of the staff are part time ( not always by choice) so they can get them to work extra.
    Will they pay my daughter who has worked there part time for 7 years with only a few days sick in all that time? I have been off work 1 week as a care worker because I felt unwell. My daughter took the time off in case it was Corona Virus. She said she will not get paid as she has not got the virus. My company and Gov rules say she should take another week off in case she has picked up the virus. Sainsbury’s didn’t give her any advice, just to come back when she thought it was right.

  10. I think sainsburys are a disgrace, Tesco have introduced additional discounts and better pay for the team’s working on the front line, sainsburys don’t even supply gloves to their teams or sanitiser/hand wash to clean properly, they are exposing staff unnecessarily they should be ashamed

  11. I have just been told by my manager that as I will not be returning to work until the 1st of August as I am shielding in the extremely clinically vulnerable group of society, they are going to deduct 2 weeks holiday from my yearly allowance.
    Now I can’t quite see how the last weeks have been such a relaxing fun packed time staying at home relying on others so I don’t go out a catch something that could well kill me that I can call any of it a holiday. Thanks Sainsburys.

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