Retail employer Dunelm will pay back in full the money it received as part of the government’s employee furlough scheme as financial support during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
In March 2020, the organisation furloughed 8,000 employees after predicting a significant reduction in revenue due to the pandemic. However, the organisation has seen a 29.7% increase in sales over the last three months and consequently plans to return the £14.5 million to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), provided that there are no major financial issues related impact during the winter months. The organisation reopened all of its 130 stores in May 2020, returning all of its furloughed employees to work.
Dunelm also confirmed that it does not plan to make use of the government job retention bonus, or the most recently announced job support scheme.
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To recognise its employees for their hard work during the pandemic, Dunelm rewarded all 10,000 employees with a £250 special payment. The organisation is also supporting the financial and mental wellbeing of its staff during this time through online webinars and classes.
Andy Harrison, chairman at Dunelm, said: “The commitment of our amazing employees, the quality of our leadership, and our Dunelm family values, have guided our decision making at all times. In the darkest and most unpredictable hours of the crisis, our values and our strong desire to do the right thing for our employees lit the way.
“I am immensely proud of how our Dunelm employees have performed in the toughest of tests and the social contribution they made including the manufacture of NHS gowns from our curtain factory and sewing laundry bags for care home and other key staff. I would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of our employees.”