Seven implements 20% pay cuts due to ‘extraordinary’ COVID-19 situation

Seven West Media is asking staff to take a pay cut as the company attempts to navigate the “extraordinary and challenging” environment presented by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

CEO and managing director James Warburton conceded to staff in an email today that despite its various job-saving initiatives “some job losses will be inevitable”.

Warburton has also asked staff to be patient and respectful during this difficult time

Those earning between $80,000 and $200,000 per annum (including superannuation) and not covered by enterprise agreements will be asked to work a four-day week with a commensurate 20% reduction in salary. Those earning above $200,000, however, will be asked to take the pay cut, but keep their hours the same.

Employees covered under an enterprise agreement will not be subjected to the reduction measures.

Those who have been asked to reduce their hours will be allowed to use accrued annual leave to cover the unpaid day each week. Once the annual leave is exhausted, however, the fifth day will be unpaid. Warburton noted in an all-staff email seen by Mumbrella that “no negative leave balances will be possible”.

“If you do not wish to top up your pay with annual leave, then you are not required to do anything further. Your next pay will be reduced by 20%,” Warburton explained.

He also requested staff take additional annual leave between now and 30 June, 2020 to help the company reduce costs.

The pay cuts, reduced hours and other measures are in effect between now and 30 June, 2020. Warburton noted this will be under constant review, and may need to be extended.

Warburton also called on staff to rally during this difficult time.

Seven’s year is not going to plan

“I’m sure you will appreciate that, while the situation is not ideal, we all need to work together over the next few months to ensure our business remains viable,” he said. “Your continued performance of work on or after 1 April, 2020, will signify your acceptance of the above arrangement. Please note the executive team will also be subject to the salary reductions and are required to continue to work at full capacity during this time.”

He also asked staff to be patient, respectful and considerate of each other when seeking details and clarity around the new arrangements.

UPDATE 2 April: Mumbrella contacted Seven and asked for clarification around staff who object to this arrangement, and their avenues for alternatives. Mumbrella also asked about staff implicitly signalling their agreement by their “continued performance of work” from yesterday, rather than explicitly agreeing. Seven responded with “No comment.

For further information on your rights and responsibilities when it comes to pay cuts, reduced hours and being stood down, please see Mumbrella’s explainer here


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.