Staff at Brown Thomas and Arnotts are to receive their full pay and benefits while the stores are closed due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The company said it will avail of the Government's wage subsidy scheme, but it will also top up staff pay packets to 100% of their normal earnings.

The guarantee also applies to workers who aren’t eligible for the state schemes.

"Despite a solid financial performance in 2019/20, we must now proceed with caution and every decision we make right now comes with additional responsibility," it said in a statement.

"However, we are equally conscious of the challenges faced by our people at this time."

"Brown Thomas Arnotts has therefore committed to stand together with its people and will continue to ensure that all our employees are paid their full salary."

The retailer said it was taking what it described as "the right decisions" now to protect jobs for its staff.

It also said it is responding and innovating to meet the new consumer mindset and retail environment, which will be critical to the long-term future success of Brown Thomas Arnotts.

Penneys to avail of Government scheme

Penneys has confirmed that it will pay its 5,000 retail employees 80% of their salaries for the next month, and will be availing of the Government's Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. 

The retail company also pledged to top up the Government subsidy to ensure workers secure 80% of their salary - and will review the situation in a month's time.

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme sees the Government pay workers earning up to €38,000 70% of their take-home salaries, capped at €410, provided the employees are retained on the company's books rather than being laid off.

The subsidy for workers earning between €38,000 and €76,000 is capped at €350, while employees earning above that threshold are not eligible for the scheme. 

The Government hopes that by keeping workers on the company's books, it will be easier and quicker to rekindle economic activity when the Covid-19 crisis abates.

The spokesperson said: "Our people are fundamental to the success of our business and we are proud of the resilience and dedication they have shown in recent weeks as we navigate the significant challenges we face as a result of Covid-19."