Agency workers have been told by Argos that they could be in line for an additional 80 pence an hour pre-Christmas bonus providing they don’t call in sick.
The warehouse staff At Argos’ Essex depot were informed about the new bonus in a letter which stated: “Great news starting this Sunday! Agency colleagues will not lose the 80p uplift if they go home due to no work etc, but they will lose it if they go sick or don’t attend for work. If they go sick or don’t attend on one day, they lose their uplift for all of that week, but they then start fresh the next week with another opportunity to earn the uplift.”
The hourly bonus of 80 pence applies to temporary agency workers employed on behalf of Argos by agencies across all its distribution centres.
Argos said: “As we prepare for our peak Christmas trading period it is a business priority to increase our temporary workforce to help meet higher demand and deliver an unbeatable customer experience.
“Additional resource is at a premium in the run-up to Christmas so to ensure we attract, retain and increase the attendance of our temporary workers, we offer an attendance bonus of 80p per hour, which applies to all agency staff across all of our distribution centres. We take the treatment of all staff – whether directly employed by us or indirectly via a third party agency – extremely seriously.”
However, the initiative could amount to indirect disability discrimination.
Charlotte Woolven Brown, an employment law expert with Palmers, explained: “This could cause particular difficulties for workers who have a disability or a chronic illness. Argos has not made it clear in its note to staff whether it plans to give due consideration to workers with disabilities and ensure that anyone who takes time of sick due to their disability, is not unfairly penalised.
“A failure to safeguard the rights of disabled warehouse workers would mean that Argos would be in breach of its duties as an employer under the Equalities Act 2010.”
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