Asda, Walmart’s Leeds-based subsidiary, said on Friday it plans to hire more than 5,000 temporary workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak to help get it through the crisis.
The news came as Asda outlined a wide ranging package of measures it is implementing “to help support its colleagues and other workers whose jobs have been impacted by Coronavirus.”
Asda CEO Roger Burnley said staff will receive full pay if they need to isolate due to coronavirus.
“Where colleagues have been identified as being part of a vulnerable group and need to self-isolate, they will receive full pay for the full 12 weeks to protect their health,” said Asda.
Burnley said: “I could not be any more grateful for the efforts each and every one of my colleagues is going to right now to support and serve the people of the UK – and the last thing I want any of them worrying about is being paid if they need to self-isolate as a result of Coronavirus.”
Asda added: “Recognising the significant demands that are being placed on supermarkets in the current climate as well as the implications on many other businesses in areas such as travel and food services that are having to stand down workers, Asda has also started working with a number of national companies to offer temporary roles to people.
“Colleagues from these companies will be offered shifts or a temporary secondments to Asda roles – ensuring individuals remain in work and companies do not have the additional pressure of staff costs during this crisis.”
Asda also confirmed it will be paying its small suppliers immediately to help them keep their business operating and is to provide a “rent free” quarter to around 250 small business tenants in its stores who are struggling to operate during these unprecedented times.
Burnley added: “Never in my 30 years in retail have I ever felt so keenly the role played by supermarkets in our communities.
“The way our colleagues are working to support the nation is incredible and I want to support them – and those closest to them who are experiencing the other end of this crisis and need work.
“Where we can provide opportunities for employment, even short term, to help people through this period, we want to play our part.
“And where we are able to reduce the strain on our smaller suppliers and tenants – we will do so.”