POUNDLAND is to give staff an extra week of holiday as a thank you for their hard work to stay open during the coronavirus crisis.
Because the discounter sells household products and groceries it is deemed essential so it hasn’t needed to shut up shop during the lockdown.
Out of its 800 stores, it has had only had to close 100 due to staff shortages and a “significant drop in footfall”.
To protect staff at the remaining open stores, the retailer installed perspex screens at checkouts, limited the number of shoppers that can be in the store at any one time and reduced the number of tills open to keep customers apart.
It has also provided staff with hand sanitiser and restricted restocking shelves to outside of opening hours.
As a thank you, the brand has announced a string of perks to reward hardworking staff.
Which stores have temporarily closed?
POUNDLAND has put 100 stores across the UK in “hibernation
The stores are mostly in towns where there are two branches close to each other, or in a shopping centre (SC) or retail park (RP) that can’t afford to stay open just for Poundland customers.
So far, it has identified 32 stores that wil be closing. These are:
- Barrow in Furness Hindpool RP
- Birmingham Corporation Street
- Carlisle Scotch Street
- Chester Old Sealand RP
- Ebbw Vale
- Gateshead Team Valley RP
- Hammersmith Kings Street
- Ilford The Mall SC
- Kings Lynn Vancouver SC
- Manchester Arndale SC
- Meadowhall SC
- Newport Spytty RP
- Nottingham Chilwell RP
- Ormskirk Two Saints RP
- Rotherham Parkgate RP
- Selly Oak RP
- Sutton Coldfield
- Swansea Fforestfach RP
- Walsall Saddlers SC
- Watford 77 High Street
- Wick RP
- Yardley Swan SC
- York Monks Cross RP
On top of the extra week of annual leave, Poundland has doubled staff discounts, as well as committing to staying shut on Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year.
The retailer has also set up temporary stores on its warehouse sites so staff can easily access essential household items.
The raft of added benefits was outlined by Poundland boss Barry Williams in a video posted online.
He said: “Sometimes saying thank you isn’t enough, so we’re going a lot to support our colleagues as well.
“Whether that’s doubling the discount on all the products tht you can buy from us through our colleague discount scheme, providing extra holiday – all colleagues are getting an extra week’s holiday because of the service they’ve provided – an extended break to spend with their families and loved ones at Christmas… It really is important that we thank them for everything they’re doing.”
He hasn’t specified if the extra week of annual leave has to be taken before the end of the year or whether it’s added to next year’s quota.
Some of the employees who work at the stores that have had to close have been transferred to other nearby branches where possible.
Those who weren’t able to transfer have been put on the government’s furlough scheme and will only receive 80 per cent of their wages.
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Around 250 members of back office staff at headquarters in Willenhall and Watford stores have also been asked to agree to be put on the scheme.
Meanwhile, around 40 contractors in the main office in Willenhall were also let go.
At the time the chain announced the temporary closures, Mr Williams said that the measures will “make sure we’re well places for recovery once the country emerges from its current battle.”