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Lloyds 'extremely sorry' as it asks pharmacists to pay bonuses back

One Lloydspharmacy employee told C+D they will be seeking legal advice
One Lloydspharmacy employee told C+D they will be seeking legal advice

Some Lloydspharmacy employees have been told to pay back a portion of their bonuses after the company overpaid them in error.

Certain pharmacists and pharmacy managers who were awarded bonuses this year have been told to pay back “part of” the funds, after a calculation error “led to overpayment in some July salaries”, Lloydspharmacy’s parent company Celesio UK told C+D today (August 31).

“We paid a bonus to all colleagues this year in recognition of their continued hard work and their commitment to our customers and communities,” it said.

Celesio UK stressed that it is “extremely sorry” the overpayment happened.

“Regional teams have been talking to those affected and explaining that we want to recover the part of the bonus that was overpaid in a reasonable timeframe, over several months,” the company explained.

“Our impacted colleagues will receive a letter this week giving details of the overpayment and where to direct any questions.”

“Demanding” phone calls

A Lloydspharmacy manager – who wishes to remain anonymous – said they and their colleagues had received phone calls from their area managers “demanding the payments back”.

Under the multiple's bonus scheme, pharmacy managers can be awarded a maximum bonus of up to 20% of their salary and pharmacists up to 10%, they explained.

However, a “blunder” at head office meant “everyone ended up getting their full allowance, rather than based on their performance”, they claimed.

“The company is now enforcing a lump sum payment be made back… or it is automatically taken out of their wages for the next seven months,” they added.

“We don’t get massive bonuses, but the bonuses we do get, get spent pretty quickly,” they said.

“It is such a huge amount to be paying back in seven months,” they added. “I will be seeking legal advice.”

In June, Celesio UK confirmed to C+D that thousands of Lloydspharmacy staff received their monthly salary a day late due to “human error” by a payment provider.

Have you been asked to pay back part of your bonus to Lloydspharmacy?

R A, Community pharmacist

Probably best to ask Lloyds Head Office to provide a breakdown of how they reached this conclusion. At the end of the day if its clear in black and white that this was a payroll error then, unfortunately, it would be difficult to keep the bonus. If you are in employment with Lloyds then they simply will claw it back from your current pay. On the other hand, if no proof can be provided that it was a mistake i.e. calculation error or oversight of payroll then probably best to contact PDA who can help.

Ari Butt, Community pharmacist

What a fiasco ! Where was the checks on calculations before the bonuses were awarded ? Maybe instead of recovering the money  they should allow the Pharmacists to keep the overpayments as a LOYALTY bonus for all the additional stress ! 

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

I think that before anyone does anything (rash or otherwise) they should get legal advice. My understanding is that any genuine overpayment can be recovered. And before you all give me 'thumbs down', I don't make the rules

Honest Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

The PDA need to be looking into the unethical workings of Lloyds Pharmacy and the way they treat their Pharmacists and staff. Most people think Boots are the worst culprits out there, and I believed that too until I had the misfortune of being employed by Lloyds when they bought all of the Sainsbury’s Pharmacies. 

Disillusioned Sussex chic, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

there are laws and lgislation regarding the paying back of over payments. they cannot demand the payment in full so, I would suggest that all those effected should offer five pence per month or, opt not to have bonus for five years. by law they should except that. If they then suggest that the receivers of the bonus over payents would lose their jobs, this is then a matter for the solicitors to get involved with. Lloyds have known this for years and obviously only recently tried to change their own rules but, you guy's should look at your contracts then get advice from a solicitor. ie: a colleague was over paid for 8 years, her solicitor said she should agree to pay this back by refusing a wage rise for 4 years. she still works for Lloyds.

Honest- Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Furthermore an overpayment is actually a matter of opinion as they can never justify how they calculate these things. So for all the graft Pharmacists do one could argue its still an underpayment, turn it on its head. Demand a bigger bonus. They would have just plucked a figure out of thin air. They will write it off as a loss. I hope they are not cherry picking the ones they are demanding money back from! That is of course a legal matter if they are.

Caroline Jones, Community pharmacist

I'd say finders keepers! The calculation of bonuses is not transparent, so I doubt Lloyds would be able to prove they really had made an error! Plus, it probably doesn't even come close to compensating staff for 0% pay rises for 10 years! I X been told they always manage to find a reason to not give their staff a pay rise, citing.....'if you worked in a busier store' as one way of getting a pay rise/bonus

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I would suggest you could be in big trouble if you don't pay it back. It is the same as when HMGov overpaid benefits and those affected had to pay it back. I would hope that Lloyds will do nothing to bring hardship to those affected. I feel really sorry for anyone affected in this way. It's been a particularly tough year in pharmacy so to have received a bonus (of any value) would have given the staff a bit of a lift. To have to pay some of it back is really hard.

Danny TheRed, Community pharmacist

Scaremongering, has it actually been established that it’s actually an overpayment, where’s the proof. As scientists we look for proof, would we take Lloyds word for it if they said the world is flat......?

Danny TheRed, Community pharmacist

I have just received confirmation that even the Lloyds rewards team don’t know how the bonus is calculated. Contact the PDA as soon as possible 

Honest- Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

and join the PDA if you are not with them already. Also why dont the PDA just become the union for Lloyds, thats right Lloyds will not be able to do underhanded things if thats the case. 


Honest- Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Demanding money back I can believe. I was in a branch when the cluster manager phoned a few months ago and demanded they reduce staffing hours and force redundancies.
Now that someone has bought the bonus matter to the public domain Lloyds will issue letters of apology etc asap as their bullying tactics didnt work. Wonder who is getting sacked at head office this time?!? The head if HR Hilary Stables who was forced out a few months ago will be having a field day knowing Lloyds blunder more then ever in her absence.
New CEOs first day tomorrow, bet he regrets the decision once all the fluffy stuff is done!

Julie Friday, Accuracy checking technician

Boots don't even offer redundancies they just push staff out and force them into having to leave.

Danny TheRed, Community pharmacist

Perhaps I’m being unkind, maybe it’s just financial figures that they’re not good at, Mike Coupe certainly got his figures right.....

Danny TheRed, Community pharmacist

Complete lack of transparency regarding bonus calculation, no calculation shown just a sum. Luckily they have ICARE values which can be spun any which way to justify appalling behaviour. I would urge all PDA members to contact them with regard to this fiasco

Honest- Pharmacist, Community pharmacist


How incompetent can one company be. How many things can a single organisation keep getting wrong. This will no doubt lead to many upset individuals. 


Caroline Jones, Community pharmacist

Yet, they expect their pharmacy staff to make no errors.....pot and kettle me thinks!

Roger Schofield, Locum pharmacist

My advice would be do not pay anything back . Seek advice from PDA

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

They're in trouble-they've sold off many health centre pharmacies that they paid premium prices for over the years and now this nonsense.

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Another payroll error.... what is going on.... feel sorry for the staff, they pay peanuts as it is.

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