Our greatest asset
Creating and protecting jobs

FWD members provide around 68,000 jobs directly, in all regional of the UK. In addition, around 1.1m jobs in the supply chain – from manufacturers to shops – rely on the services of the wholesale sector.

FWD members support the National Minimum Wage (NMW) although members are concerned about the wider impact of frequent above-inflation rises in NMW. We are concerned that the National Living Wage could severely restrict the profitability of our members, should the proposed target of 66% of median earnings by 2020 be pursued.


Our report, Delivering Employment, outlines the added cost to our sector, and explores how wholesale distributors would be forced to cut jobs and services to meet the rises.

FWD engages with the Low Pay Commission to look at how the lowest-paid can be fairly rewarded without imposing costs on employers that would ultimately result in a reduction of head count.


On the horizon
Policy in the pipeline


The Government has announced two schemes for the food and drink industry to help resolve absence is- sues in England resulting from employees being advised to self-isolate for up to 10 days following notifi- cation from either Test and Trace or the app that they had been in close contact with someone reporting a positive Covid-19 test result.

  • Facility level exemption via daily contact testing is offered to critical workplaces including whole- salers. Any colleagues at that facility who are alerted by the app or contacted by NHS Test and Trace will be able to take daily tests and work if they test negative, whether or not they are vac- cinated. 500 initial sites across the food supply chain have been identified and contacted by Test and Trace. Businesses have to be able to offer supervised on-site daily contact testing in order to be able to access the scheme. If you would like to be considered for participation in this, email COVID19.Coordinationunit.Agrifoodchain@defra.gov.uk.
  • Reasonable excuse for named individuals: where self-isolation would result in serious disruption to critical services, businesses can apply to Defra (emergencies@defra.gov.uk) for an exemption for workers to leave self-isolation to continue working. Details of this scheme are here, the process for requesting a reasonable excuse letter is here and the request form is here

From August 16, changes to the self-isolation legislation will mean individuals with two vaccinations will not need to self-isolate if contacted by NHS Test and Trace in England. In Scotland, wholesalers can apply for self-isolation exemptions.

National Living Wage

From April 1, 2021 the National Living Wage has risen to £8.91 and now applies to all employees aged 23 and above. The minimum wage rates are as follows:

21-22 rate: £8.36 18-20: £6.56
Under 18: £4.62. Apprentice rate: £4.30

The Low Pay Commission is currently consulting on minimum wage rates to apply from April 2022, increas- ing the NLW to 60% of median earnings by 2024 and reducing the age threshold for the NLW from 23 to 21 by 2024. FWD will be sending out a survey of members to help shape our response to the consultation.