Colleague Newsletter – March 2020

Hello and Welcome to this special edition of The Westgrove Newsletter

Dear Colleague,

Thanks to each and every one of you for your continued commitment this week and for the extended hours many of you are working to help out at sites where colleagues are needing to self-isolate to help overcome the current crisis. We are proud of you all.  

There are some huge changes at many of our sites as leisure activities such as gyms, restaurants and most shops have been forced to close their doors. We are maintaining resource as much as we can at sites working on reduced hours and pulling together to keep sites functioning. Many sites have essential retail services such as food and pharmacies and it is critical that we manage these sites effectively and communicate the right messages to visitors.

On Friday 20 March the Chancellor added to an already unprecedented package of financial support for businesses, to assist with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Please be aware that the information and guidance is changing on a regular basis.  As we receive further details and direction, we will continue to provide updates.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Some of you may be affected as sites are looking to reduce hours or temporarily furlough colleagues whilst the current lockdown is in place. If you are affected please see the below guidance;

What does it mean?

The Government has stated that they will reimburse employers 80% of an employee’s salary whilst colleagues are ‘furloughed’ (this generally means a temporary leave of absence from work) during the Coronavirus crisis. 

  • Colleagues that are to be furloughed will need to be designated as such and notified. Colleagues will need to provide their consent to their Line Manager by signing the letter provided by Westgrove HR team.
  • Colleagues must not undertake any work for Westgrove (or any other employer) while furloughed to qualify for the scheme. The grants do not cover the wages of colleagues working reduced hours due to the virus.
  • Potential furloughed colleagues are those that would otherwise be made redundant.
  • The rebate is capped at £2,500 salary per month and the relevant employee will have needed to have been entitled to the salary on the 28th February 2020.
  • The £2,500 may include employer’s NI and pension contributions, but this is not yet clear. Therefore £2,500 may not end up being the precise maximum gross pay which the employee receives, if for example, pension contributions are then taken into account. You may receive 80% of your current earnings.
  • The measure will be in place for at least three months. 
  • The scheme will be accessible to Westgrove through an online portal (HMRC are still working on this but it should be available soon). Once we are able to access the portal, we will need to provide details (this is likely to be name, NI number, salary etc) of the affected furloughed colleagues and submit this information to HMRC.
  • All payments will be backdated to the 1st March 2020 (or the date the furlough leave commences) although the Government have suggested that it will be late April before the system is fully operational with cash reimbursements being processed.
  • Colleagues must be employed before 28 Feb 2020.  

Key Worker Authority

The BSIA (British Security Industry Association) are now classing Security Personnel as Key Workers. Roles essential to supporting law and order, with the potential to reduce demand on policing, also meet the critical worker definition. This would include, amongst other areas, the guarding of empty or closed commercial, retail or office premises; the monitoring of similar through CCTV or other remote means; and the provision of alarm response centres including mobile units. (Information provided by SIA 26th March 2020).  

Westgrove are also classing cleaning colleagues as Key Workers under Public Safety. Your Site Manager has been issued with a letter of authority by HR, should you be asked by the Police why you are travelling to and from work.

Our HR team are on hand for any help or advice you may need during this time.  They can be contacted by email or by calling 01925 414190.

Please look after yourselves and your family and stay safe.


Free and Confidential Well-being Support

retailTRUST offers a wide range of support including helpful advice, financial assistance, face-to-face and telephone counselling, non-repayable grants, career development, and legal guidance. Click here to find out more. There is also some great advice about your well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Reward & Recognition Awards

We know that there is some amazing work happening out there across our sites during the pandemic. Please remember to nominate your colleagues through our Reward and Recognition programme. You can find out more and nominate here

Unsung Heroes!

Revo, the body representing the Retail Industry also want to hear about the heroic work currently happening in our shopping centre and parks and we’re sure there are some unsung heroes amongst our team! Please can you share some news stories and pictures of your teams and how you are all helping each other and the community during the Covid-19 Pandemic.  Please email your stories and pictures to and let’s share some Westgrove news.