Many of you may now directly know people that have been impacted by the Coronavirus. Some of these may be positive stories, where people have perhaps got the virus and recovered. Other stories will of course be very sad.
We are trying to do the best we can for our staff through this period and indeed we wish we could go much further. We do however have to have one eye on what happens after this crisis, to ensure that we still have the resilient business that we have enjoyed for the last 25 years and more.
We are starting to see remarkable stories of Mears staff (#mearsamazingpeople), help in all sorts of new ways, from delivering food parcels to brightening up a care home with flowers. I know at the end of this crisis; we will all look back with pride as to what has been achieved.
We will do our best to thank everyone who has done an amazing thing for someone else who is in real difficulty.
As a part of ensuring financial resilience for the future, we are having to ask several staff to accept being furloughed. Here we have been determined to go further than the guidelines set by the Government.
This means Mears topping up pay to 80% of salary level for everyone rather than using the Government’s cap. The exception to this being the lowest paid, who will see their pay topped up to 100% of their normal pay, as is right and proper but also fundamentally exceeds the position taken by most other companies.
We are now also starting to pay out the first cases from our hardship fund. This to support staff and their families, who have been especially hard hit by current events. Again, we know it won’t be enough, but we will do what we can.
We are also working as hard as we can to give people the latest guidance on how to work safely and have nationally campaigned to get more PPE to our staff. We are using technology more than ever before to collect and share important information to keep people safe. It is positive to see that national attention has switched from not only supporting the NHS but all staff who are at the front line providing essential services. We have played our part in that shift.
We are reviewing on a daily basis, the actual works we are carrying out and constantly asking ourselves, was that work essential to the recipient, or could that have waited for another day. We recognise that this is not easy, as what is classed as essential varies according to the specific situation of that tenant or service user.
Of course, we won’t always get it right, we won’t go far enough for some and we do welcome the feedback we have had both good and bad.
Fundamentally though, we do want to do the right thing, both for today and for the future of the business. Thank you so much for your support and stay safe.
David and Alan
Mears are determined to emerge from this period even stronger as a business and supporting all Mears colleagues through this difficult time.