Celebrity chef and restauranteur Rick Stein has said he won’t pay his staff’s wages, whilst his restaurants are closed.
He said staff will not be paid for over a month while his restaurants are closed; and will get no money until the end of April, when the Government is expected to pay wage subsidies to businesses that have shut down.
Many business leaders, who are applying for government support, are stepping in to pay staff salaries whilst they wait to reclaim 80 percent of staff wages under the new Corona Virus Retention Scheme launched by the government.
On the company’s Instagram page he wrote: ‘Our attention is now on how we get through this challenging time so we can continue to look after our people and customers for many years to come.’
Managing Director Ian Fitzgerald comments: “Rick and Jill are committed to looking after their staff and suppliers and the best way they can do that is to ensure that they still have a company at the end of this terrible time; that everyone can keep their job – their responsibility is for the long term.
“All staff will be paid, in full, for all the hours they have worked on the next scheduled pay date which is Friday 10th April. All 600 employees have been furloughed in order to protect them.
“Although the government has acted swiftly in their commitment to cover 80% of salaries for all staff, the portal for applications will not be available until the end of April and monies will follow in the weeks after that, which is not until May.
“If we honour staff salaries in the meantime the company may have to close permanently and that won’t benefit anyone. We are working day and night with our insurers and bankers to look at solutions to pay staff the hours we would have expected them to have worked had we been open, in the hope that we can fund these payments before the grants would be paid. We await further details from the government.
“We look to the strength and power of the media to keep the pressure on the government agencies to implement the policies as quickly as possible so that we can pay our staff and for the insurance companies to honour the policies purchased to protect companies.”
He said that once the Government salary subsidy scheme comes into effect, staff ‘will receive it immediately. If we can find other funding from our bankers and insurers, we will make payments and these things may happen within weeks.’
According to sources, his culinary empire is reportedly worth over £30 million.