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Cost-of-living crisis: How are pharmacies supporting their staff?

After Chemist4U announced it would give its employees a bonus to help with mounting bills, C+D asked multiples and independents how they planned to help their staff manage cost-of-living pressures.

Online pharmacy Chemist4U will give each of its employees a £750 bonus – spread across September, October, and November – to account for increasing fuel and energy prices, its CEO James O'Loan told C+D last week (August 17).

Read more: Online pharmacy Chemist4U set to give employees £750 cost-of-living bonus

It is not the first pharmacy to respond to looming costs, as Lloydspharmacy and Boots recently told C+D they have upped their mileage rates in response to record high fuel prices.

C+D reached out to multiples and independent pharmacies to find out if and how they were supporting their employees against cost-of-living pressures.


Well to provide a “comprehensive package”


A Well spokesperson told C+D that the multiple recognises “the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on people”.

As such, it is “determined to provide a comprehensive package that is competitive in the sector”, it said.

Read more: Lloydspharmacy and Boots up mileage rate as fuel prices remain sky high

However, the spokesperson could not provide more information on what the package would entail and whether Well is reassessing its employee’s salaries in light of the higher cost of living, although they confirmed that “negotiations [over this] are currently taking place”.

“We aim to provide as much support as we can, given the fixed funding contract in place in England,” they commented.


Boots bonuses reviewed annually


Boots, meanwhile, did not directly respond to C+D’s question on whether it was considering providing its employees with cost-of-living bonuses.

Instead, C+D understands that the company reviews its staff’s salaries in November every year, at which time it awards discretionary bonuses to those who are eligible. Boots also distributes Christmas payments to those eligible.

Read more: Boots to cover HRT prescription costs for pharmacy team members

Current and former Boots employees facing financial hardship can apply for support for themselves and immediate relatives via the Boots Benevolent fund, C+D understands.

The multiple announced in May that it would cover employees’ hormone replacement therapy prescription costs as part of a package of support for those experiencing menopause.


Weldricks adjusts employee bonuses


Meanwhile, Weldricks Pharmacy – which has 59 branches across Yorkshire – has “adjusted [its] employee bonus scheme to try to compensate for the current cost-of-living pressures on [its] staff”, director of operations David Vanns told C+D.

For its part, the government has set aside a £37 billion package to help with the cost-of living crisis.

Part of this funding will be allocated to 6 million disabled people in the UK, who are expected to receive a one-off £150 payment in September to help with the rising cost of living, the Department of Work and Pensions announced today (August 23).

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