On top of its commitment to retain all members of staff throughout the pub shutdown, Oxfordshire-based operator Peach has pledged that every employee on its books will be paid in full for the first three weeks of the current pay period from 16 March until 5 April.
With the exception of a skeleton support team to manage its pub estate during the closure, every member of staff will be placed on furlough and receive 80% of their wages as of 6 April – irrespective of whether they are salaried or paid hourly.
Additionally, the company has pledged to top up the monthly pay of anyone whose salary is more than the maximum Government grant of £2,500 per month and cover individual pension contributions, as well as those from Peach, towards every staff member’s pension pot.
Director salary sacrifice
As part of Peach’s pandemic pledges, directors have agreed to forgo salary until its 19-strong stable spanning Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Hampshire and Surrey reopens.
“Apart from health, we all share huge concern about our jobs and wages in the months ahead, and have been doing everything we can as a company to negotiate with our banks, suppliers and landlords so that we can keep the Peach team together and secure the future of the business," Peach’s MD Hamish Stoddart explained.
“Despite having no income at all, we can continue to pay this level of wages by taking advantage of Government and bank support and sacrificing director salaries.
“Our plan is to make it through this period of closure with the goal of keeping the whole business and team intact, ready to launch with typical Peachy enthusiasm when we are allowed to open our doors again,” he added. “Our guests are going to be desperate for great Peachy hospitality and the good stuff when they come back and we need our team to be ready and able to give guests what they want.
“We don't want to lose anyone through this process and remain committed to being a really great place to work, learn and grow. Staying true to our values has never been more important than now.”
Sense of community spirit
Ranked 64th in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For 2020 list, Peach has also established The Peach Hardship Fund in light of the pub shutdown to help staff across its 19-strong stable.
“It’s hard for all of us, particularly caterers, to do nothing, and being at home all the time is difficult if you’re used to working in a busy pub every day,” Stoddart explained. “It’s also more expensive – gas and electricity bills go up and there’s no team food now. So we have set up The Peach Hardship Fund, a pot of money to help any of our team in need.
“As well as Peach money, we have had some generous donations from our guests, which has been really fantastic.
“We have also seen a great sense of community spirit developing across the business. We are implementing some trials in Warwickshire supplying local charities with ready meals and teaming up with Aubrey Allen, one of our longest-standing suppliers. Some of our team members are working in their own communities and supporting the NHS.
“We’re keeping in touch with regular Zoom calls, sharing news and recipes from our chefs on Facebook and throwing house parties on Facebook live. We’re going to get through this together.”