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Post Office guarantees independent Postmasters remuneration

All independent Postmasters across the UK who are keeping their branches open to serve their local communities during the coronavirus pandemic will receive guaranteed remuneration by the Post Office.

As critical service providers or key workers, independent Postmasters and their staff are continuing to keep their branches open to provide vital services, particularly to elderly and vulnerable people, despite an overall reduction in transactions and revenue.

They are ensuring that customers can:

  • Continue to have access to cash. The Post Office network is the biggest retail network in the UK, with more branches than all the banks and building societies combined. The Post Office is often the only banking service for several miles, particularly in rural communities.
  • Continue to top up gas or electricity key cards. The Post Office is the largest network of energy payment facilities. Together with its Payzone outlets, the Post Office has the widest network of energy payment facilities.
  • Continue to receive weekly social benefits in cash through their Post Office Card Account.
  • Continue to post and pick up letters and parcels. This is particularly important for relatives trying to keep in contact with each other during this pandemic.

Post Office is guaranteeing that all independent Postmasters will receive 100% of their remuneration in April and 90% in May. Eight thousand independent Post Offices will benefit from this guarantee, which will be kept under review if public health advice to stay at home continues.

The guarantee for independent agents covers both their fixed and variable remuneration and will be based on an average of their monthly remuneration for the previous quarter. The guaranteed remuneration will be paid at the end of each month consistent with the normal schedule for remuneration. The rate of remuneration will also reflect the previously announced increases that come into effect today (April 1).

“I’m incredibly proud of our postmasters and branch staff for their dedication to serving customers and keeping the largest retail network in the UK open for business during this difficult time,” said Nick Read, chief executive at the Post Office.

“Every independent Postmaster wanting to serve their community during the Coronavirus outbreak should not face having to close their Post Office because of concerns over financial support.

“This remuneration guarantee backs Postmasters for their dedication and hard work in keeping their Post Office open and making sure that some of the country’s most vulnerable people can benefit from essential services.”

With over 11,500 branches, the Post Office network is the biggest retail network in the UK, with more branches than all the banks and building societies combined. Most Post Offices are remaining open during the Coronavirus outbreak, although some branches do have to close at short notice to allow for self-isolation whilst others have reduced their opening hours.

The Post Office network includes a mixed estate of main, local and outreach formats. Nearly 8,000 main and local branches are operated by independent agents that also offer a wide variety of complementary essential and non-essential retail.

The remuneration guarantee is irrespective of whether branches are open or not or have reduced their hours. Post Office recognises that some branches have had to close through circumstances outside of their control such as self-isolation or sickness.

A further 1,900 branches within multiple retailers benefit from different commercial arrangements, and over 1,600 outreach branches are contracted directly with fixed remuneration for the services they provide.

Post Office openings

To help Post Office branches remain open, customers are advised to follow public health guidance for social distancing. Many Post Offices have floor markers and other reminders to help customers stay two metres apart. Additional protective equipment including protective screens and gloves is being delivered to Postmasters this week. Perspex screens are also starting to be sent to independent branches this week and more are on order

As independent agents, it is for these Postmasters to decide what hours they are able to operate. The Post Office has a small number of Directly Managed Branches.

Their opening hours have been reduced to Monday – Friday (9am to 3pm) and Saturday (9.30am – 12pm). The first hour is reserved for elderly or vulnerable customers and NHS or care workers.

Post Office customers can see how coronavirus may affect Post Office services on its website and can find the latest information on branch opening hours on its Branch Finder.

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