Sick pay ‘is cheaper’ than suspending under-fire Martin Bashir over Princess Diana interview allegations
- Martin Bashir is under-fire for methods he used to land Princess Diana interview
- So far the BBC has not suspended its religion editor, despite string of allegations
- It is understood that it may be cheaper to keep him on reduced sick pay for now
Despite facing a string of allegations of dishonesty, Martin Bashir still holds the title of BBC religion editor.
But the riddle of why he has not been suspended may have been solved – it is cheaper to keep him on reduced sick pay.
If the BBC suspended the veteran journalist – who earned millions in his broadcasting heyday – until the inquiry into how he secured the Panorama interview with Princess Diana ends, he would be entitled to his full pay for the six months or more that Lord Dyson’s investigation is expected to take.
The BBC may not have suspended under-fire religion editor Martin Bashir because it is cheaper to keep him on reduced sick pay
Mr Bashir’s salary is believed to be in six figures.
Were he to be declared fit to work, his pay would be restored – but he would also face immediate calls to answer questions about accusations he lied to Diana and others involved in high-profile stories.
He is off sick after catching coronavirus in the summer and having a quadruple heart bypass operation in September.
Mr Bashir, 57, is said to be ‘too ill’ to be questioned about the methods he used to land his Diana scoop, but he has been spotted out and about buying a takeaway and wine, and recently moved house.
The BBC pays its staff sick pay at their full salary for 18 weeks, then half-pay for nine weeks, and after that they get statutory sick pay of £95.85 a week.
It is understood the broadcaster has decided not to suspend Mr Bashir – despite the serious allegations against him – while his wages are so cheap.
He is believed to be at the half-pay stage and in the next few weeks, if he remains off work, is expected to move into the £95.85-a-week statutory sick pay bracket.
Last night the BBC declined to say anything and Mr Bashir did not respond to a request for comment.