Hungry Lion CEO sacrifices salary and directors their fees to help employees

Hungry Lion employees will have access to medical advice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
TELECONSULTANT: Hungry Lion employees will have access to medical advice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Image: 123RF/DONGACHOV

Voluntary salary sacrifices and an innovative new service will ensure that all staff of a fast-food chain will have access to healthcare services during the coronavirus pandemic and possibly beyond.

Hungry Lion’s almost  2,900 staff across SA have to date relied on government healthcare services, but the company and a healthcare network have devised a low-cost plan that went live last week. They now have access to professional advice and referrals to general practitioners and medication if necessary.

Hungry Lion has closed for the lockdown while continuing to pay staff, CEO Adrian Basson said, but in the face of the coronavirus threat the company had decided that healthcare cover would be expanded beyond managers and assistant managers. Vulnerable workers should not  risk visiting public health facilities if they were ill.

He appealed to National Health Care executive chair Reinder Nauta to devise a plan to ensure the fast-food outlets’ workers could safely get professional medical help if they fell ill during the crisis. Basson sacrificed his own salary and that of the company directors and other senior staff to pay for it.

Hungry Lion was already paying for more than 260 managers, assistant managers and head office staff to belong to National Health Care’s primary healthcare plan that provides unlimited access to its network of 3,000 general practitioners, acute medicines, X-rays and basic optometry.

The Health Profession Council of SA’s decision to allow phone or video consultations with doctors and other practitioners enabled healthcare professionals to consult safely during the Covid-19 crisis. It also gave National Health Care the opportunity to offer an even more affordable service through its MediClub Connect.

MediClub offers a medical advice service on WhatsApp that gives employees a cheap way to connect with health professional from home.

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