Woolworths will thank more than 100,000 employees for their hard work throughout the coronavirus pandemic with gift cards and shares.
The supermarket giant announced on Tuesday the Australia and New Zealand team members would be given an ownership stake in recognition of their ‘extraordinary efforts and contribution during a year of unprecedented challenges’.
Woolworths’ employees were battered by angry customers throughout the COVID-19 crisis, as desperate shoppers turned the shelves bare by bulk buying essential items like toilet paper.
The announcement also comes after the supermarket admitted to underpaying 5,700 workers last year.
The eligible full-time team members will be given up to $750 of Woolworths Group shares for them to keep or sell in the future, while part-time eligible team members will be allocated shares on a pro-rata basis.
The shares are available to team members employed before March 1 2020 and who do not already participate in the Group’s short-term incentive schemes (STI).
Shares cannot be sold until after three years or when an employee quits the group, in line with Australian Tax Office requirements.
Woolworths will thank more than 100,000 employees for their hard work throughout the coronavirus pandemic with gift cards and shares
The eligible workers will also receive $250 in Team Member PlusCard credits to spend like a gift card in Woolworths, Metro, BIG W and BWS stores.
Casual team members will receive $100.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said: ‘From protests in Hong Kong, droughts and bushfires in Australia to the devastating volcanic activity in New Zealand and finally COVID-19, we have pulled together as a team to support each other, our customers and the communities in which we live and operate.’
‘This has taken an enormous amount of hard work and dedication and through our collective commitment we have indeed lived our purpose of creating better experiences together for a better tomorrow.
‘We could think of no better way to thank and recognise our team than by making them shareholders in our Group.’
Mr Banducci said the shares were also an acknowledgement of the ‘critical role’ the team will play going forward into a ‘new normal’.
‘Today’s recognition announcement has been carefully considered by our Board and Group Leadership to enable us to extend recognition to as many of our team as possible,’ he said.
The eligible workers will also receive $250 in Team Member PlusCard credits to spend like a gift card in Woolworths, Metro, BIG W and BWS stores. Australian casual team members will receive $100 (stock image)
‘I’d like to thank our team once again for their continued support during these extraordinary times.’
Casual team members who joined on or after March 1 2020 in Australia to assist with the coronavirus crisis will be able to keep their team discount until the end of December of this year, irrespective of whether they stay with the company or not.
The announcement left team members divided, with many casual members complaining they were deserving of more after stretching themselves to work through COVID-19.
‘This is f***ing ridiculous. I’m a casual and I study full time. I usually work less than 10 hours a week, during corona I did multiple 38 hour weeks, while full timers did their usual hours. But they get a grand’s worth and I get $100,’ one person wrote on Facebook.
‘So as a casual that’s been there for four years I’ll get half of what my PT friend will get who’s been there for five months? Awesome,’ commented another.
‘Goes straight back into their pockets. F***ing bull****,’ a third added.
Woolworths employees were battered by angry customers throughout the COVID-19 crisis, as desperate shoppers turned the shelves bare by bulk buying essential items like toilet paper
Others said they were happy to receive the incentive.
‘Is this the bonus for doing our job? Sounds great to me. I’m pretty thankful I still have one,’ one wrote.
‘I am thankful for anything. At the end of the day we are the ones who chose to work. It’s our job,’ another said.
Some compared the incentive to Coles and claimed it was a better solution.
‘People at Coles got a bonus, paid tax AND super is coming out of it… I’d rather a plus card,’ one wrote.
‘Better than Coles. They got taxed most of it,’ added another.
Coles in May announced their workers would be handed as much as $750 as part of a one-off cash bonus to thank them for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Department managers pocketed $750, full-time staff received $500, part-time workers were paid $250 and casual staff employed before March earned $200.
Casual workers employed after March received $100.
CEO Steven Cain said the money acted as a ‘thank you payment’ to employees that were forced to work exhausting hours after shelves were stripped bare amid COVID-19.
‘In recognition of your remarkable work during this period, I am very pleased to announce that Coles will be awarding a special thank you payment to our weekly-paid (wages) Coles team members across Supermarkets, Coles Express, Coles Liquor, Coles Distribution Centres, Chef Fresh, and RROA,’ he said in an email to staff.
Coles in May announced their workers would be handed as much as $750 as part of a one-off cash bonus to thank them for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic (pictured: shoppers line up outside a Sydney Coles in March)