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Wesfarmers, Ikea offer support payments to displaced Victorian staff

Bunnings garden worker
Bunnings garden worker

Last week Wesfarmers took the bold step of stating it will ensure all team members affected by Melbourne’s six-week lockdown will remain employed, and paid fully, for the entire period – whether the business has meaningful work for them or not.

Full-time workers across Target, Kmart, Bunnings, Catch and Officeworks will be paid a full replacement wage, while casual workers will see support based on their hours regularly worked. 

If a casual worker regularly works 12 hours or more a week, they will also get a full replacement payment, while those working under 12 hours a week will be paid the equivalent of two weeks of normal rostered hours. 

Ikea also said it will pay full replacement wages to its workforce should the business be unable to ensure work for their staff due to the restrictions on trade. 

“As always, our primary focus remains the health and safety of our co-workers, customers and service providers,” an Ikea spokesperson said.

“IKEA will continue to provide work and will pay co-workers in Victoria for the full 6 weeks of the stage 4 restrictions.  ”

The pledges of support come as further Covid-19 restrictions placed on businesses have forced many retailers to shut up shop temporarily, putting the fate of their workers in doubt.

“We are committed to the wellbeing of our team members who have done so much in recent months to operate our business safely and to support each other and our customers,” Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said. 

“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.”

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.

“These are essential workers on the frontline who have been risking their health and safety to ensure the community have access to all essentials throughout the Covid-19 crisis,” Dwyer said. 

“It is now time for other major retailers to follow Ikea and Wesfarmers’ lead.”

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