PRH UK furloughs staff for 'long-term health' of company

PRH UK furloughs staff for 'long-term health' of company

Penguin Random House UK is the latest publisher to reveal it is furloughing staff, saying the move will affect "some" of its workforce across the business, extending to staffers in its London office. 

PRH c.e.o. Tom Weldon said it was "a temporary but necessary measure" in the "long-term" interests of the company. He also confirmed that all those who are furloughed will have their income topped up to 100%.

"We believe that a sensible and considered use of the government’s job protection scheme to place some colleagues on furlough leave is the right thing to do at this stage," said Weldon. "This is a temporary but necessary measure to protect jobs and the long-term health of the company."

He added: "For those furloughed, we will top up salaries so that any colleague who is affected will continue to be paid in full. And we will continue to support and be in close contact with all colleagues to protect their mental and physical health during this time."

A Penguin Random House spokesperson confirmed that it furloughed "a number of colleagues" in its warehouses last week.

Further to this, this week the publisher told staffers it will also be placing "some office-based colleagues" on furlough leave, and that this will include "some based in London".

The publisher declined to disclose a ballpark number or the proportion of the staff it expects will be furloughed, with an analysis to ascertain which colleagues will be affected currently being carried out. The process is expected to take roughly two weeks, during which time PRH will be communicating with those members of staff.

It is not known how long those who are furloughed will be placed on leave for. A spokesperson emphasised it is taking a "measured and considered" approach and the measures it takes will be under review. 

The news follows the decision of Hachette UK and Bonnier Books UK to furlough 10% of their workforce, reported earlier today (7th April). It also follows Pan Macmillan's request to higher paid staff last week to volunteer for a pay reduction, with m.d. Anthony Forbes Watson electing to take a 50% pay cut for the next three months, while employees at its distribution arm were furloughed. 

For staff who are furloughed, the government is providing grants for 80% of usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, until at least the end of May. Employers can choose to top up employees' salaries but there is no requirement to do so.