The boss of Sellafield Limited has outlined his expectation that companies in its extensive supply chain pay their staff basic wages should they have to self-isolate due to coronavirus.

In an open letter, Sellafield Ltd chief executive Martin Chown said he wanted to ensure supply chain employees did not feel under pressure to go into work if faced with the prospect of not getting paid.

Sellafield Ltd is following NHS guidance on coronavirus symptoms and Government guidelines that those self-isolating should do so for seven to 14 days.

Mr Chown – who took up the top job at the start of February after stepping up from his position as supply chain director and deputy chief executive – wrote: “We want to make sure those with symptoms do self-isolate and don’t feel under pressure to come into work due to financial constraints.

“We expect all our suppliers throughout all tiers of our supply chain to pay their staff basic wages during the seven to 14-day period of self-isolation. This will be an allowable cost in these circumstances.

“The Sellafield site and offices remain open and operational (and) we remain focussed on our mission and we want to maintain progress on all work fronts.”

Mr Chown added that Sellafield Ltd would issue further information as the outbreak unfolds and “consider specific support” alongside the support currently being offered by the Government.

Elsewhere, Sellafield Ltd head of supply chain development and innovation, Emma Jayne Gooch, also sent a letter pledging invoices would be paid on time and called on supply chain companies to do the same.

“We do have to follow Government advice to ensure the safety of all those working at Sellafield Ltd,” she wrote.

“We class our finance team as critical staff, so during this time we will continue to pay our invoices promptly and we urge our Tier 2 suppliers to do the same. We will also ensure that procurement teams are retained for critical purchases.”

But she added “It is likely, as Government start to enforce social distancing measures, that the work flowing from Sellafield will lessen and we do understand this will have an impact on many businesses.”

Mrs Gooch pointed SMEs to the FSB website for access to advice and financial support, and also highlighted Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster’s and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce’s dedicated covid-19 support pages on its site.

Sellafield suppliers who have any concerns about the situation or about their business health, can contact