Shepherd Neame is putting the majority of its staff on temporary leave while asked those remaining to take pay cuts.

The pub company is requesting 85% of staff step aside from their current roles on a temporary basis while the company accesses the coronavirus job retention scheme, which guarantees 80% of wages up to £30k.

Meanwhile the company will fund the wages of all those earning above £30k so that they continue to receive 80% of their normal pay.

Around 1,300 people will be affected across the managed pub estate and head office.

For those that remain in active work, Shepherd Neame is asking higher paid members to accept a temporary salary reduction of between 10% and 15%.

This follows last week’s announcement that Directors have volunteered to take a 20% reduction in salary.

All hourly paid staff in Shepherd Neame’s pub estate will have their pay settled for March in full and paid on the normal date.

These measures will be implemented in a phased approach in line with business demand, commencing on 29 March.

The steps are being taken “in the absence of any detailed information from the Government”, apply until the end of April, and will be kept under regular review according to developments.

CEO Jonathan Neame said: “I am incredibly proud of our people, who have shown great spirit, great dedication to the Company and have been a great support to each other in these challenging times, as we all adapt our lives to support the national effort.

“Our focus is to protect our people, our teams and the Company for the long term. To do this, we have to take the difficult decision today to ask members of our team to stand aside on a temporary basis whilst our operational focus is restricted to producing beer for the supermarkets.

“As soon as the situation improves we will focus our efforts on resuming normal activity and look forward to welcoming our team members back at that time.”