An internal EB Games note on the company's intranet has reassured employees across the company's 300-plus stores in Australia and New Zealand that "we are not that retailer" to stand down employees without pay, although the company stressed that they could not promise to cover staff's wages "for the entire period of any stand down", should it occur.
The note from EB Games Australia's managing director, Steve Wilson, thanks staff for their efforts over the last few weeks and is refreshingly upfront given the precarious situation for retailers and the company's hundreds of casual staff.
"You would also be aware some retailers who have chosen to close in the last few days have stood their people down without pay. We are NOT that retailer," Wilson's note says.
The company doesn't promise to cover staff wages "for the entire period of any stand down", which is understandable given how many unknowns there are right now. "I don't know if or when a stand down may occur. I don't know if it will be regional or national. I don't know if there will be any government assistance and most importantly, I do not know how long it will last."
The covering of staff is believed to be for salaried employees, not contractors. I reached out to EB Games for comment and clarification about what happens to casual staff, but did not hear back by the time of writing.
The note can be read in full below.
Thank you for the extraordinary efforts you have all put in over the last few weeks.
Your achievements through these trying times have been amazing. In an environment where some other retailers have been required to close by government order and others have thrown in the towel, you have continued to serve your customers magnificently. It is especially so when you consider this has all been done with COVID-19 at the forefront of everyone's mind and the need to maintain strict social distancing rules. Your efforts have been legendary.
This story is still being written and it is uncharted territory for all of us. We as a business will continue to ignore the noise. We will do exactly what our State and Federal governments ask of us, whatever that is. I have complete confidence you and your teams can handle the challenge.
I know many of you are worried what happens if the government decides they no longer want us to trade and requests we close.
I must stress there is no certainty this will occur but the possibility certainly exists.
You would also be aware some retailers who have chosen to close in the last few days have stood their people down without pay.
We are NOT that retailer.
If we have to close, I cannot promise you we can pay you for the entire period of any stand down. The variables are too great, I don't know if or when a stand down may occur. I don't know if it will be regional or national. I don't know if there will be any government assistance and most importantly, I do not know how long it will last. Rest assured we have a plan to hopefully soften the blow of any worst case scenario.
Focusing for a moment on what we can control. Things are not easy right now and your job currently has more challenges than normal. We are listening to what you are telling us and making changes accordingly. Hopefully we are alleviating some of the challenges, if only a little bit.
Please continue to talk to your Field Managers if there is more we can do to help.
Now, more than ever, my only ask of you is to look after your people and look after your customers.
If you're working on the ground floor in retail and have a story about the conditions, please reach out.