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Some Australian workers at jewelry retailer Pandora have been asked not to take sick leave over the Christmas period because it was a busy time for the business.

In a video sent to staff, The Howley Group Director Joseph Howley, the Pandora franchisor of some Australian and New Zealand stores, said that because the company was entering a “very busy” time of year, the staff should not report ill for the next three weeks.

“You are very important to this business. Please don’t call to let me know if you are sick. If someone calls in sick or cancels shifts, I need to know. You should speak to me directly,” said Howley, who lives in Sydney. .

The owner of a multi-store franchise for the jewelry brand Pandora asked some Australian and New Zealand employees to avoid taking sick leave during Christmas.
The owner of a multi-store franchise for the jewelry brand Pandora asked some Australian and New Zealand employees to avoid taking sick leave during Christmas. (Stuff.co.nz)

“Unless you have something serious, you are not supposed to do that for the next three weeks. After that, you can do whatever you want, no problem.

“But those three weeks I need your full support. Is that clear?”

The video had bothered personal, and expressed concern, said a worker who did not want to be identified.

A Pandora spokeswoman said Howley was not asking staff to avoid taking a Christmas vacation.

“While it was not communicated effectively, the video asked staff to contact The Howley Group directly in the event that they were unable to attend their assigned shift, in order to better manage alternative arrangements,” he said .

“The video is not aligned with our overall focus on Pandora.”

She said that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Pandora supported and enforced health and safety guidelines, including the use of personal permits when staff were unwell.

The well-being of staff and customers was important to the company, he said.

Pandora had discussed the video with Mr. Howley “in depth this morning,” she said.

“We sincerely apologize to the staff for any discomfort caused and we are categorically available to make sure they are aware of your rights.”

Sydney-based Joesph Howley asked some of the Pandora staff to avoid taking sick leave for three weeks during the busy Christmas period.
Sydney-based Joesph Howley asked some of the Pandora staff to avoid taking sick leave for three weeks during the busy Christmas period. (Westfield)

Labor attorney Susan Hornsby-Geluk said the situation appeared “very inappropriate” and potentially a violation of the employer’s obligations to provide a safe workplace for both the employee in question and everyone.

He said workers had the right to take sick leave if they were unwell.

“It is also completely irresponsible in this COVID-19 environment,” Ms Hornsby-Geluk said.

Howley’s Facebook page showed that he had reposted videos of US President Donald Trump with the caption: “Trump is the only president in the world who openly cries out to the Lord Jesus Christ!”

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House on Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House on Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Getty)

The president of the United States accepted the criticism for his handling of COVID-19. The United States has had more than 16.3 million cases and has recorded nearly 300,000 deaths.

Mr. Howley was also a director of Australian jewelry Carati Jeweler, which was owned by The Howley Group and had stores in New Zealand.

This article originally appeared on Things and has been reproduced with permission.


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