Hays Travel has furloughed the majority of its workforce following the announcement of the government’s support scheme last week.
The UK’s largest agency chain, which employs around 5,700 staff in its stores and head office, said it had taken “all measures available to protect our industry and jobs”.
“The majority of our staff other than key workers are now furloughed with government support and we are feeling more confident about safeguarding these jobs,” the company said in a statement issued today.
Last week there was concern after 880 Foreign Exchange workers and shop trainees were put on zero-hour contracts. All other employees had their hours reduced for the next four weeks.
Hays took on 2,300 former Thomas Cook shop after taking on the leases to occupy all 553 of its shops following the travel giant’s collapse in September last year. It also recruited 200 additional staff for its head office in Sunderland.
Of its 5,700 staff, 2,500 work in retail across 650 branches in the UK.
The TSSA union last week urged business secretary Alok Sharma to intervene to save jobs at Hays Travel.
Last week chancellor Rishi Sunak told businesses the state will cover up to £2,500 a month of salaries for firms to furlough staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Under the scheme, all UK employers can access financial support from the government in order to continue paying part of their employees’ salaries. In particular, the salaries of those employees that will otherwise be laid off in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.