// Wilko pulls its guidance telling staff in England to work with Covid after a memo was leaked online
// The old memo read: “If you test positive for Covid-19 and feel well you can continue to come to work.”
Wilko has apologised and pulled guidance telling its employees that they should come into work if they test positive for Covid but feel well.
The government scrapped its legal requirement for Covid patients to isolate at home at the end of last month leaving it up to employers to decide their own policies.
A memo that was leaked on social media this week told Wilko shop and warehouse employees that they should be present in stores if they contract the virus but present no symptoms.
But Wilko chief executive Jerome Saint-Marc said in a statement late on Monday that the FT report had “highlighted some miscommunication within our Covid-19 policies”, adding: “When we get something wrong, we hold our hands up, admit it, and work to correct the situation.”
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In an apparent U-turn, he said: “Our advice to team members that have Covid symptoms [or] test positive is that while they’re no longer required by law to self-isolate, they should still stay at home and avoid contact with others. This will help reduce the chance of spreading Covid-19.”
The old memo read: “If you test positive for Covid-19 and feel well you can continue to come to work. If you feel too unwell to work, you should follow the absence policy.”
At the time the policy meant that employees in its 20,000-strong workforce would miss out on pay if they didn’t come into work for fear of spreading the virus to other staff and customers.
The policy has emerged just as the numbers of people testing positive in the UK is on the rise, with 1,521 people admitted in England, the highest number since the end of January.
Clara Phipps, who posted the guidance on Twitter before the retailer backtracked, said her daughter, a Wilko employee, returned home with the memo.
“We have clinically vulnerable family members in our household, as do many of her coworkers,” she wrote on Twitter.
People in England are no longer legally required to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid, under government guidance that came into force in England on February 22.