UK pub retailer and brewer Greene King currently employs around 40,000 people across 2,700 pubs, support centres and breweries.
In March 2020, when the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic struck and pubs were forced to close, more than 99% of Greene King team members were furloughed. The employer introduced a Team Member Support Fund following the first lockdown which was designed to give staff access to essential food and retail vouchers between March and June last year, with £650,000 in grants distributed to employees. The fund was relaunched again in January 2021 following the third lockdown, and distributed a further £450,000.
Greg Sage, corporate affairs director at Greene King, explains that the fund was introduced because the senior team recognised how severely the pandemic was affecting some employees financially. “This fund sat alongside extensive wellbeing resources as well as a significant uplift in internal communications to keep team members informed, engaged and feeling part of the Greene King family during this challenging period,” he says.
The fund was raised though a combination of voluntary pay sacrifices from the executive board and leadership team at Greene King as well as a company donation, and was independently managed by the Licensed Trade Charity, which provides practical, emotional and financial support to pub workers.
“One of our key objectives during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is to, as far as possible, protect our employees and leased and tenanted partners from the worst impact of the crisis. We’re a family, and we want to support each other in times of difficulty,” Sage adds.
The two funds were highly valued by employees: anonymised feedback shared from members of staff via the Licensed Trade Charity highlighted how the grant had made a difference to them at a time they needed it most.
Quotes from staff who received the fund include: “Thank you so very much you have no idea how much this helps,” and “This will really help me and will go a long way. I really appreciate it and it is definitely a stress relief.”