Household goods retailer Wilko has apologised after it told staff they should come into work if they test positive for Covid but feel well.
The government scrapped its legal requirement for Covid patients to isolate at home, leaving it up to bosses to decide their own policies.
The high street retailetr has now backtracked on its policy and said it was holding its hands up and working to “correct the situation.”
Jerome Saint-Marc, Wilko chief executive, said there had been miscommunication on the issue and those with Covid symptoms or who test positive should stay at home and avoid contact with other people.
“As throughout our 92 years on the high street, the safety and wellbeing of our shoppers and teams is at the heart of our business and we’re truly sorry for any understandable concerns our communications may have raised,” Saint-Marc added.
Earlier this year, Wilko informed its 20,000-strong workforce that they should only stay at home if they have symptoms, after testing positive for the virus.
A memo sent to Wilko staff stated: “If you test positive for Covid-19 and feel well you can continue to come to work. If you feel too unwell to work, you should follow the absence policy.”
Wilko shop and warehouse staff said they were concerned they would be forced to miss out on pay or risk spreading the virus to customers and colleagues, The Mirror first reported.
This policy has been in place since 24 February in England and 28 February in Wales, with Scottish shops to have the policy from 21 March.
A Wilko spokesperson said previously that the advice to staff was updated in line with government guidelines.
They added: “We’re a family business that’s looked after our team for over 90 years through good times and bad. We operate an enhanced company sick pay policy, and support those team members most in need.
The company would “continue to serve customers to our best ability and look after team members who need our help.”
Health minister Sajid Javid has warned rising infection rates are “expected”. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that one in every 25 people in England had the virus in the week ending 5 March.