Exclusive: Cineworld: Employees told they may need to repay furlough wages

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Cineworld staff may be asked to pay back wages they are paid while on furlough, a leaked email has revealed.

Workers at the popular cinema chain, which employs dozens in the Birmingham area, were hit hard in October when it was announced that the chain would close temporarily, following further delays in the release of Bond movie No Time to Die.

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Many had the news broken to them over social media, and were further hit when it was revealed they would only be furloughed until the 15th of October, despite the scheme — at the time — extending until the end of October.

“To be honest, I was gutted,” One former employee, who wishes not to be named, said. “I feel [it’s] extremely unfair.”

When the government’s furlough scheme was extended in November, Cineworld changed their stance on this, and told employees who hadn’t taken redundancy that they could be furloughed instead.

However, in the email informing them of this, and asking for employees to indicate they understood the terms and conditions of their furlough, there was one paragraph that caused some employees concern.

In the event that we do not obtain a grant for you we may need to recover any sums paid to you that we are unable to recover from the government. However if this becomes relevant we will discuss a payment plan with you in advance.
A leaked email shows the terms that workers need to agree to in order to be furloughed

Being told that they may need to repay their own wages — not a commonplace move under the furlough scheme — did not sit well with some employees.

“I am very worried for those who have chosen to say with Cineworld,” The ex-employee said.

Another Cineworld worker, who also wishes to remain nameless, added that he was glad Cineworld had furloughed their employees again, but was very unhappy with the way they’d chosen to do it.

Cineworld did not respond to a request for comment.

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