Wesfarmers has guaranteed its workers will remain employed and fully paid at Melbourne chains such as Bunnings, Kmart and Officeworks during the six-week COVID-19 lockdown.
All permanent staff in the city would have the assurance in the event there was no work for them, while casuals who work 12 hours a week or more will be paid for their regular hours during the six weeks.
The decision comes after most retailers in Melbourne were forced to close their doors, and many other types of businesses, as part of stage four restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.
The federal government has revised its JobKeeper wage subsidy program, mainly due to Victoria’s plight, and will relax criteria after September.
Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said many of its workers would not be eligible for JobKeeper.
He said while Wesfarmers could not eliminate uncertainty for staff, it could reduce concerns of a sudden loss of household income from the stage four restrictions.
The group’s stores are still trading through delivery and click and collect means, while Bunnings is serving trade customers.
Wesfarmers has 30,000 staff across Victoria.
Shares in the company were trading lower by 0.4 percent to $45.98 at 1502 AEST.
Steven Deare in Sydney