Employees at Rowlands Pharmacy in Wales are having money deducted from their pay packets following an “administrative error” involving their government-funded Covid bonuses.
North Wales Live has reported that Rowlands employees received a bonus of £837 in September by way of thanks from the Welsh Government for their efforts during the pandemic.
However, in October they were told that they would need to pay back over £100 of this amount as the company had overpaid due to an administrative error, with the clawback spread over three months.
One employee told North Wales Live she was concerned that some staff members would have to “go without” as a result of the repayment as it coincides with the expensive Christmas period.
According to the Welsh Government website, the bonuses – which were paid to primary care service providers and their staff – amounted to £735 per individual. This means that anyone paying tax at 20 per cent and national insurance at 12 per cent “should receive approximately £500 net payment”.
Similar £500 bonuses have been paid to pharmacists and other health workers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but not England.
A Rowlands spokesperson commented: ‘Rowlands recently paid branch colleagues a Welsh Government funded Covid bonus in recognition of their outstanding work during the height of the pandemic, but due to an administration error there was an overpayment which now needs to be reclaimed.
“We have explained the situation to colleagues and apologised for the error. In order to mitigate any impact this may have on colleagues, we have spread the repayment over three months, and we have asked any colleague who has concerns about potential financial hardship to contact us directly so we can provide them with the support they may need.”
It is unclear how many employees in Wales have been affected by the overpayment and subsequent clawback.
Pharmacy Network News has asked Rowlands whether there have been similar issues with Government bonus payments in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but the company declined to comment.