'This may be unprecedented for a franchise business model, but these are unprecedented times'
Having faced criticism last week for continuing to ask for sick notes despite the pandemic, Tim Hortons has announced it will commit up to $40 million to support employees who are affected by COVID-19.
The company will pay employees who have contracted the virus or who are quarantined – at the specific request of the government, medical authority or restaurant owner – for the scheduled hours for up to 14 days.
This will include all hourly workers in thousands of restaurants owned by 1,500 Tim Hortons small business owners, as well as those who work in corporate-owned restaurants. The company will also work with governments to leverage support for employees, as available, it says.
"We don't want any team member affected by COVID-19 coming to work sick – and we don't want them isolated at home worrying about how to support themselves and their families," says Duncan Fulton, chief corporate officer at Tim Hortons.
The $40-million investment is to be split 50-50 between 1,500 restaurant owners and Tim Hortons corporate office.
"It was obvious that we needed to help our small business restaurant owners with the substantial investment required to look after team members at this time,” says Fulton. “This may be unprecedented for a franchise business model, but these are unprecedented times.”
Tim Hortons also announced all in-restaurant dining rooms are closed from Mar. 17 until further notice. Drive-thru, take-out and delivery service will still be available.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are among unions calling for better worker protection amid the pandemic.