14 March 2017

Asda to offer staff a big pay rise – but there is a catch

Supermarket giant Asda is offering staff an impressive pay rise. But, as with anything in life that sounds too good to be true, there’s a catch.
supermarket downshiftAsda is offering staff a new voluntary ‘flexible’ contract that will see basic hourly pay go up from £7.44 to a cool £8.50.

However, the catch is that they’ll have to dump a whole load of perks to get their hands on the extra cash – including paid breaks.

While all shop-floor staff will move up to the increased National Living Wage (NLW) rate of £7.50 an hour from April 1 regardless, Asda are also giving everyone the opportunity to opt into a voluntary contract to earn £1/hour more on top of the NLW from 8 October.

Asda claims the new contract would see 95% of their staff with a better deal, regardless of the perks they’d have to give up.

Aldi and Lidl already announced last month that they’ll be paying staff just over £8.50/hour when the new Living Wage comes into effect – no sacrifices necessary!

The contract

this way redirectAsda’s new flexible contract would involve giving up the following conditions. Would you sign up to this for an extra £1/hour?

  • There will be no paid breaks
  • Staff will be expected to work all bank holidays if necessary (or take them as a holiday)
  • The hours considered anti-social hours (during which staff are paid more) will be reduced from 10pm-6am to 12am-5am 
  • The premium rate that night shift workers (currently an additional £2.04) will go up to £2.54 on top of basic rate

One big perk for students would be that this contract involves staff being given more freedom to work across different departments, rather than stay chained to just one, which is great for gaining more varied work experience.

Additionally, as most part-time contracts will involve shorter shifts, it’s likely that losing paid breaks won’t affect students as much as they would full-time staff.

Tanya de Grunwald from Graduate Fog has said:

This is probably good news for students working at Asda. I’d expect many will be happy to forego paid breaks in exchange for higher hourly pay – with the exception of smokers.

And the bank holidays issue is less likely to impact them than their older colleagues, or mature students, who are more likely to have families.

Why is Asda doing this?

buy food from marketsThe grocer said it has created the new contract to make way for more “flexible” working to better meet customer needs – but that sacrifices have to be made for this to be possible.

Hayley Tatum, Asda’s senior VP for people, has said:

Our customers shop in different ways at different times, and they expect us to deliver them the same great level of service whenever they visit us.

This new contract offer is the right thing for us to do for our customers, and our colleagues, and we hope that as many colleagues as possible choose to accept it.

Is your employer paying you what you’re legally due? Find out what you should be earning per hour in our guide to part-time workers’ rights.

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