Asda offers higher pay rate for flexible contract

Asda is offering its staff a new flexible contract paying £1 per hour over the Government’s National Living Wage increase which takes effect next month.

The UK’s third-biggest supermarket chain said on Monday that moving to the new contract, with a base rate of £8.50 per hour, is voluntary, and stressed that it is not a zero hours contract — staff will retain guaranteed minimum hours.

The new deal aims to increase staffing flexibility in stores. Staff who choose to move to the new contract will have greater levels of flexibility in their work patterns to make sure more colleagues are in the right place, at the right times of day to meet customers’ needs.

This means that they could be asked to work in different parts of their store, or work different days or hours depending on when customers shop in the store most, Asda explained.

As well as an increased rate of pay and agreement to flexible working, the contract offer includes:

– Agreement to work bank holidays if required, or take the time as annual leave.

– 28 days annual leave, including bank holidays.

– An increase in the night shift pay premium for working unsociable hours, but a decrease in the hours it will apply — from the current 10.00pm to 6.00am, to between midnight and 5.00am.

– A move to all breaks being unpaid.

Asda claims that 95% of its current workforce will be better off if they choose to move to the new contract — some by over £1,000 a year.

Asda’s senior vice-president of people, Hayley Tatum, said: “Our current employment contracts have evolved over decades. They mean we have different colleagues on different terms and they don’t give our colleagues the level of flexibility our customers need to meet their changing needs. 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 will also mean that colleagues can gain a broader level of experience across their store, which will in turn give them better opportunities to progress and develop their career in retail.”

The contract has been welcomed by the GMB union, whose general secretary, Tim Roache, commented: “These new flexible contracts will help to ensure job security, ensure those accepting them are on the same terms and — best of all — ensure that people will earn more money as a result. The new contract offer involves quite a few changes, but as it’s voluntary, this allows colleagues to choose whatever suits their circumstances best.”