Covid-19: Prezzo amends income streaming to aid furloughed staff

UK-based Italian restaurant chain Prezzo is offering income streaming to all of its 3,000 staff, to help them access their furlough pay early during the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.

Income streaming gives workers early access to their accrued pay when they need it, and in normal times is provided to front-line staff at Prezzo, thanks to its partnership with financial technology firm, Wagestream. But with the health emergency continuing to keep restaurants closed, the company has opened up the service to its entire workforce, noting that financial pressures could be weighing heavily on staff at this time.

The 180-strong restaurant chain is one of several hospitality companies exploring how it can take advantage of changes to Wagestream’s technology to include furlough pay from the government during the pandemic. 

Furloughed Prezzo workers can now be paid 50% of their accrued furloughed pay on demand, for a flat £1.75 fee with no loans involved – and therefore no interest charged. The service has the potential to help hospitality businesses partly thanks to a partnership between Wagestream and payroll and data software provider, Fourth, which was formed in 2018.

Jacqueline Rouse, people director at Prezzo UK, commented: “We are currently doing everything we can during these difficult times to support our Prezzo people whilst they are furloughed. 

“Wagestream is a really great way of being able to provide that support by giving our people access to their pay earlier than they would otherwise receive it and helping to ease their money worries as much as possible.”

Peter Briffett, CEO and co-founder of Wagestream, added: “Companies concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the financial health of their staff are contacting us every day to ask how quickly this furlough solution can be bolted on to their payroll systems. 

“It is not just unexpected expenses that will be having an impact. A great many employees will have partners who have lost their jobs, lost income or been effectively locked out of the government’s furlough scheme altogether if they are recently self-employed or their employer has decided to make them redundant instead.”

Wagestream’s new solution is designed for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which was announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak at the onset of the Covid crisis in the UK, in March.

Furloughed employees across the UK will be paid 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500, by the government, from 1 March to the end of June. It is being offered as a support measure in light of ‘non-essential’ businesses being urged to close to help stop the spread of the virus.

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