Autostore Repco has pledged to continue to pay its Melbournian staff throughout the lockdown period, including full- and part-time workers and casuals.
GPC Asia Pacific, Repco’s owner, announced on Tuesday its people are its most valuable asset, it is putting their health, safety, and job security at the forefront.
“At a time like this it’s incredibly important that companies that are able to, step up and do the right thing to support employees,” CEO and managing director Rob Cameron said.
In keeping with that approach full- and part-time employees will retain their regular wage throughout the lockdown, as will casuals that work over 12 hours. Casuals that work under 12 hours will receive 2 weeks usual wages if they cannot be rostered.
“GPC Asia Pacific’s businesses are performing well in Australia and benefiting from the New Zealand economy moving back to a strong footing. Therefore, it is right and appropriate that we do all we can to support our Melbourne team.”
Keeping staff safe is becoming a priority for many businesses, with Victoria recording 410 cases and 21 deaths on Tuesday, and with the state’s lockdown set to continue for at least five more weeks many retail staff are being supported solely by JobKeeper payments where eligible.
Not all businesses are able to receive the payments, however. GPC is ineligible, since it is backed by US business Genuine Parts Company, and these payments are entirely self-funded.
“We acknowledge that the current climate is one of our most trying periods,” Cameron said. “We are, however, confident in our resilience, which is built on a highly engaged and passionate workforce.”
GPC’s move echoes that of Ikea and Wesfarmers late last week, which will see Target, Kmart, Bunnings, Catch, Officeworks and Ikea workers paid a full replacement wage throughout the lockdown.
“We can’t eliminate the uncertainty for our team members, but we can reduce concerns about a sudden and unexpected loss of regular household income that may otherwise occur because of store closures during the restrictions,” Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said.
Shops, Distributive and Allied Employees Union national secretary Gerard Dwyer praised the businesses for acting with “admirable speed” to minimise the anxiety and uncertainty of their staff, and to keep them employed.