The company previously announced rent payments were suspended from Monday 23 March but as rents are payable weekly in arrears, this effectively means no rent will be paid from the date of the Prime Minister's announcement for the public to avoid pubs on Monday 16 March.
The pub group tweeted on Tuesday 31 March: “Shepherd Neame is pledging further support for its licensees in light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation.
“All licensee rents were previously suspended from 23 March. All licensee rents will continue to be waived for the duration of the Government closure period.”
It added: “Shepherd Neame’s head office team is offering extensive support to licensees in accessing the grants and financial support available from the Government.”
Chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “We are working closely with our licensees during these challenging times and want to offer every support possible to help them preserve the future of their business. Our focus is to protect our people, our pubs and the company for the long term.”
This follows the news of the brewer and operator asking the majority (1,300 across the managed pub estate and head office or 85%) of its employees to step away for their roles and there will also be a temporary salary reduction for higher paid staff who are still working.
Shepherd Neame said it would not be making any permanent redundancies but would use the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough staff.
It will voluntarily top up the wages to reach 80% of those furloughed who earn more than the Government’s maximum limit of £2,500 a month.
Higher-paid staff members who are still working will face a temporary salary reduction of between 10-15%, in addition to the group’s directors taking a voluntary reduction of 20%.
These measures began phasing in from Sunday 29 March for one month, as it stands, until the end of April and will be reviewed when more details information from the Government about its support for businesses is announced.