Actor and entrepreneur Mark Wahlberg is catching some flak in the UK for utilizing taxpayer money to furlough his Wahlburgers staff.
The 48-year-old “Boogie Nights” veteran set up the restaurant with his brothers, and reportedly used the UK furlough funding system to lay off the 30 British workers under his employ- all without paying out of pocket.
The concept seemed bizarre to his UK employees.
“Mark’s decision to not personally bail out his staff has raised eyebrows, especially given how much he’s worth,” one source told The Sun. “A lot of the staff wondered if he’d help top up their wage packets but that hasn’t happened either. Everyone is grateful they’re getting a salary as obviously this is a difficult time. But when other stars like Ed Sheeran are helping out their staff using their own wealth, it looks pretty bad.”
However, it would appear the Wahlburgers simply chose the rather American route of taking advantage of lucrative government offers- in this case, a furlough scheme developed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
“The restaurant industry has been hit incredibly hard because of this pandemic,” a Wahlburgers spokeswoman said. “As a franchise organization, each individual Wahlburgers franchise has had to make decisions whether to keep its doors open or close indefinitely while we all navigate these challenging times together. The franchise group that owns Wahlburgers Covent Garden made the decision to use the Furlough scheme for their employees in hopes that the large team and Central London site can be retained without permanent closure.”
Plans to grow the business have since been halted, even if only for the moment.
“There had been talk of expanding the business, with up to ten more restaurants across the rest of the UK, but that’s now all on hold,” a source said.
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