Unprecedented measures for unprecedented times… Rishi Sunik”

These are indeed unprecedented times, and as such, all business owners are finding themselves facing not only some unprecedented business decisions, but also, for some, moral ones.

In these unprecedented and dark times there have been moments of solidarity and community spirit beyond anything witnessed previously. In-between fights over toilet roll and pasta, we have seen support groups and communities pulling together and businesses adapting for survival.  It truly is a “generation defining moment.”

Whilst this was good news, it does leave open the question of ‘what about the remaining 20%?’

I would like to say to all business owners that your employees are your most important asset and deserve to be treated with consideration and respect. When we come out of the other side of this situation, and we will, you will need your staff to come back full of enthusiasm and feeling good about the company that they work for – it’s a fact – happy employees are more productive employees.

So, I implore business leaders everywhere – if you can afford to top up the 80% of wages covered by the government to please do so as in the long run it will pay dividends.

Now is not the time to save a buck by not giving your employees the outstanding 20% of their wages because you legally don’t have to. I appreciate that the future is uncertain, but we still have to plan for the time when this is over. Those companies that are seen not to do the right thing will most probably be named and shamed in some form, either by the press, if they are big enough, or by word of mouth which can be just as powerful and detrimental to any business.

This is a true test of where your core business beliefs and values lie within your business.

Likewise, the positivity that those companies that did the ‘right thing’ will not only gain increased loyalty and respect from their employees but also will undoubtedly gain the respect of the wider community, present customers and prospects, which is priceless.

Having said this, I do of course appreciate that some companies will just not be able to afford to bridge the gap between the Government’s payment and their employee’s salary. If this is the case, I strongly advise that you make sure that you are open and honest with your staff, communicating your position to them directly and with compassion. These are concerning times for everyone and if you cannot afford to pay your staff the top up 20% perhaps look at other ways that you can help them – that will cost you nothing but will demonstrate your commitment to them and reassure them that you will support them through these difficult times.

We will now have to watch this space in terms of the impact of these measures and how the government will afford them, but I am sure they are a welcome relief for a lot of employers in these unprecedented times!