Wilco apologized, saying workers could come to work if they were cowardly

Wilco acknowledged that it was “wrong” for employees to say they could come in handy if they tested positive for Covid-19 and apologized after being criticized for issuing “reckless” guidelines in the wake of a new wave of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.

The homewear retail chain, which has 414 stores and 16,000 employees across the UK, sent a memo to employees with guidelines for its workplace policy after relaxing government rules as part of its “Living with Covid” plan, published last month.

“If you test positive for Covid-19 and feel healthy, you can continue to come to work,” the staff memo said, which went into effect on March 1. It added: “If you feel very ill, you can follow the absence policy.”

After a positive test in England since 24 February, the government has lifted the legal obligation to self-immolate, where most Wilco stores and workers are located. Since the change in rules, the number of cases and hospital admissions has increased.

Wilco’s guidelines have been criticized by GMB, the union representing the chain’s employees, who said it could set a precedent that other companies could follow.

On Tuesday, Wilco’s chief executive, Jerome St.-Mark, issued an apology on Twitter, stating that the company’s position is that those who test positive should “still stay home and avoid contact with others.”

“When we do something wrong we hold our hand, acknowledge it and work to correct the situation,” he said. “Today’s news highlights some misconceptions in our Covid-19 policy and I want to reassure all our customers and team members. The safety and well-being of our customers and teams is at the heart of our business, and we’re really sorry for any inconvenient concerns that may arise in our communications. “

Government policy differs in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where self-separation rules remain in place and employees must be quarantined for at least five days if they develop Covid-19 symptoms and have to stop work until two negative side flow tests have been performed.

On Monday, Francis O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC union, wrote a letter to Quasi-Quarten, business secretary, saying: “Ministers are sowing dangerous confusion in the workplace about covid safety.”

TUC says people should not be forced to make “terrible choices” at risk of losing income by going to work with a coronavirus or being self-isolated at home.

From 1 April, employers will no longer need to explicitly consider Covid-19 in the workplace risk assessment.

“We run an extended company’s sick pay policy and support team members who are most in need, including Covid-19,” St. Mark said. “We will continue to look after our team members to the best of our ability.”


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