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Waitrose Pledges Coronavirus Self-Isolation Pay After Staff Outcry

The supermarket had initially asked staff to make up time spent self-isolating, leading to fears that workers would come in

Outside Waitrose supermarket in south west London
The supermarket had initially asked staff to make up time spent self-isolating
Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

Waitrose supermarket makes swift coronavirus policy U-turn

Waitrose has rowed back on its COVID-19 self-isolation policy for staff, after fears supermarket workers would come in to avoid having to make up time off.

Initially, workers self-isolating with a family member showing symptoms from the novel coronavirus outbreak would have had to make up a maximum of two weeks’ worth of work unpaid. As an anonymous Waitrose worker told the BBC: “Someone on a 35-hour contract would have to work an extra 70 hours if they had two weeks in isolation.” Having “already” been paid for the work, it would have been the equivalent of working 70 hours unpaid.

Waitrose has now confirmed that “Partners who are self isolating without symptoms and unable to work from home will no longer be required to ‘time bank’ any of their time [...] Instead they will be on authorised paid absence from day one.”

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