Board Communication

Thursday 4th June 2020

Dear all,

We hope everyone is safe and well.

As you will all be aware the Company is continuing to deal with the many issues it faces as a result of the COVID 19 outbreak. We are pleased with the progress we are making but the situation remains very difficult with considerable uncertainty. Our aim is of course to try to get the business trading at the highest levels so that we can protect as many jobs as possible. Controlling our costs is a vital part of this process.

We wish to deal with issues relating to holiday entitlement as we are concerned to avoid a build up of leave days that if condensed into the second half of the year will cause operational issues. We wish to manage the associated costs as effectively as possible whilst ensuring that there is no financial loss to any employee. Please also refer to our May Board Communication dated 15th May 2020 which outlined the allocation of annual leave. As per point 2a), for each month of furlough we will allocate a further 2 days. If you return mid-month we will allocate 1 day. Any days we have already allocated will be counted and included before we calculate the leave days you have left (please see below).

We would like your co-operation in agreeing the following proposals which would be of significant help to the business:

For the period July to December 2020 we would like the maximum leave days outstanding to be no more than 16 days.

The majority of staff will use 4 of these days over the Christmas break (24th, 29th, 30th, and 31st December) which leaves 12 days to be taken July to December. This level is we believe both reasonable and manageable for the business.

For staff who are currently furloughed and have a holiday entitlement that is greater than the 16 days we would like to allocate the surplus days to the furlough period e.g. leave days outstanding = 19 less 16 therefore 3 days to allocate. This would mean the following:

A furlough day effectively becomes a leave day.

The Company will  add a supplement to the payment we have already made/will make to you to ensure you receive your full holiday pay

The supplement will be paid to you at the end of June.

For the few people who have not been furloughed and now those who are back in work, any surplus holiday entitlement above 16 days will be paid to you at the end of June in the normal way.

To again ensure the holiday entitlement is manageable from the date of this announcement all holiday dates that have been requested and approved must be taken on the said dates. No cancellation can be accepted.

We appreciate that this may not be ideal for everyone but we would ask for your co-operation at this difficult time.

HR will confirm your holiday entitlement if required and if you have any queries please contact your manager first and then Geoff Moore by e-mail at g-moore@sigma3.co.uk as necessary.

Thanking you in advance.

Brian and the Board                                                                                     

4th June 2020

Board Communication - Coronavirus

Friday 15th May 2020

Dear all,

Our efforts to deal with the consequences of the Covid 19 outbreak are continuing every day and I write to advise you where we are on that journey.

Firstly and most importantly I do hope you and your families are well and keeping yourselves safe. We have not heard any differently and so can be thankful for that. As I said previously this is new territory for everyone but the public response has been impressive and the commitment and diligence of the NHS/Care sector has been magnificent.

I will split this update into three areas:

  1. Current status and business activity
  2. Ongoing support for staff and other related information
  3. Future thoughts
Business activity

(also refer to our letter dated 09.04.20 and our web portal notice of 24.04.20 both still available on the web portal)

  • Initially the vast majority of staff were placed on furlough with just a few of our team working in key areas to ensure we could communicate with customers, staff and suppliers.
  • In late April we started to rebuild an output schedule and have delivered product to customers over the last 3 weeks whilst adopting all the safety measures and guidelines.
  • This has gone well and whilst at significantly reduced levels we have output planned for the rest of May and throughout June.
  • We have brought back to work the necessary staff to meet this demand.
  • Whilst this output is ongoing and as more of our customers return to work, as a second phase we have recently added more staff to deal with, and try to stimulate NEW enquiries and NEW orders.
  • Of course it is too early to say how effective we will be in securing NEW orders and when these will happen. However we are encouraged by some of the responses to the initiatives we have taken. To confirm we will contact staff as soon as demand rises and as soon as we are able to discuss return to work dates.
Support for staff and related information

(also refer to our letter dated 09.04.20 and our web portal notice of 24.04.20 both still available on the web portal)

  • In our letter of 09.04.20 we said we would review the position each month and we are now able to confirm our position regarding May remuneration.
  • For furloughed staff we will continue with the same policy as in April.
  • Likewise the policies for Directors, senior staff and the small number of admin staff will remain.
  • As we bring in more “front end” staff, we will consider if these policies are appropriate and amend as necessary. As stated earlier we will review the remuneration position again in EARLY JUNE.
  • In relation to the Bank Holidays we have now clarified the guidance. In April there were two Bank Holidays on the 10th and 13th (Good Friday and Easter Monday). In May another two, VE day on the 8th May and the late May Bank Holiday will be on the 25th May. All of our staff whether working or furloughed were/will be off on those dates and are entitled to full normal pay. Those working in April or May have been/will be paid in the normal way. All furloughed staff will receive the necessary supplement for the four Bank Holidays to bring their pay for those days up to normal pay. To confirm, there is therefore NO carry over of Bank Holiday entitlement.
  • Annual leave: Irrespective of whether anyone is furloughed or working your entitlement to a minimum of 20 days annual leave (excluding Bank Holidays) is unaffected. Longer term employees have additional days which have been awarded by the Company but these additional days are not a statutory requirement. The Company is concerned that we avoid a situation where there is a build up of accrued annual leave which may present us with operational difficulties later in the year. So with your agreement we would like to propose the following:
    • That all furloughed staff agree to take the equivalent of 2 days annual leave per 4 weeks of furlough. These days will be paid at normal rates of pay and therefore this is likely to be a supplement in your remuneration. To keep it simple we would like therefore to include up to four days annual leave at the end of May (This will depend on your length of furlough). If this presents a problem then please contact Geoff Moore HR Manager or e-mail g-moore@sigma3.co.uk to discuss. If your furlough extends through June we will supplement pay by 2 days. In this example you would have used 6 days annual leave during April – June.
    • For those staff who have been furloughed but are now back in work we will individually discuss and agree the appropriate annual leave days. We will then supplement your pay accordingly
    • For those staff who have worked throughout the furlough period, again, we will have individual discussion to agree annual leave dates that are suitable to you and the Company.
    • Should anyone wish to discuss their individual situation please contact Geoff Moore or at g-moore@sigma3.co.uk
Future Thoughts
  • Considerable effort is being applied to our future trading prospects and our response. This of course is difficult and heavily influenced by the Government policies and guidelines. We are implementing new procedures and initiatives to try to get ahead and be ready to demonstrate to customers suitable and safe ways of working that will allow orders and work to flow.
  • However we have to accept there are many challenges ahead that may impact on our business but we will be doing everything to recover and drive business levels. We will endeavour to keep communicating the situation as changes develop so please review the website to keep up to date.

Finally, I would like to place on record our thanks to all staff for their response and co-operation throughout this period. I hope you also feel the Company is looking after you as best we can. These are unprecedented times and we are certainly working very hard to deliver the best possible outcome for the Company, its staff and all its stakeholders. Please continue to take care of yourselves and those around you.

Brian and the Board

15th May 2020

 

 

Staff Announcements - COVID-19

24th April 2020

Gooday all,

We are pleased to advise that we have commenced very limited operational activity at the factory, primarily connected with our preparations to ensure compliance with social distancing and hygiene requirements. We are also trying to arrange completion and delivery of kitchens we have built for customers that have no functioning kitchen facilities.

Depending on what happens over the coming few weeks, we will hopefully be requesting more staff to return. However this does remain uncertain at this time and must be treated with caution. Staff will be contacted as soon as we have any further information and we encourage you to review this web portal on a regular basis.

We sincerely hope you and your families are keeping well.

CEO & the Board

 

 

9th April 2020

Dear all,

I do hope you and your families are staying safe and well as we all cope with this Covid 19 outbreak. This is new territory for everyone and we must be supportive of the wonderful efforts being delivered by all the NHS, care and emergency staff.

Further to our recent correspondence, I wanted to write to you before Easter to advise on the work that has been done to forecast the Company position and the decision we have made in relation to salary support for the month of April. As none of us know how long this situation will continue the Directors believe it is prudent to review our decision each month. Consequently the discussion about the May remuneration will take place early in that month when more information will be available. I can assure you the Company is financially robust but we are acting to ensure the long term well-being of the Company, it’s employees and all stakeholders.

Our aim is to protect and fairly treat all employees and the Company is pleased to be able to offer additional support to the excellent Government scheme. However, given the uncertainty we would also strongly advise everyone to examine their personal finances to make savings wherever it is reasonable to do so. Our decision for April is as follows: 

1. We will support all employees, where applicable, to top up salaries to 80% of the monthly average of 2019/20 P60 total earnings of each employee less annual bonus. This means that overtime, shift allowance, regular sales commission and other similar monthly figures will be included in the total earnings calculation. We feel this is a comprehensive and high quality support package for all our staff. 

2. The level of salary top up for Directors and some senior staff will be less than the above as they have agreed to support the Company further to help us through this situation.

3. A small number of staff will continue to work to maintain vital services and the Company has asked them to make a contribution also.

4. As ever there are some exceptions that will be dealt with by individual discussions next week. This will also include staff who have been on sick and maternity leave. 

5. The Government scheme in relation to holidays is unclear at present so as a consequence, there is no full payment action this month in relation to annual leave or indeed the Easter Bank Holidays. However we want to give you advanced notice that we will be addressing this issue in May.

6. When a return to work is permitted it is vital we move to maximum output as quickly as possible and we need to avoid a build up of accrued holiday entitlement. Therefore it is likely that some annual leave will need to be taken during the shutdown period. 

7. We hope this information is clear to you all but should you have any queries these should be sent by e mail to Geoff Moore at g-moore@sigma3.co.uk. Please send these in from next Tuesday onwards due to the Easter weekend.

Finally, we all know this situation is impacting on virtually everyone throughout the Country and we are all having to make sacrifices. We do not know what the burden will be, but there will be a very significant cost to the Company. Nonetheless we are confident we will navigate this successfully and we look forward to re starting our business in the not too distant future. We would like to thank you all for your continued support to the Sigma 3 Team and wish you and your families a safe, happy and healthy Easter weekend. 

Kind Regards,

Brian and the Board.