Archant furloughs journalists for one day a week in second lockdown

Editorial staff at regional publisher Archant were furloughed for one day a week from the start of the November national lockdown, according to multiple sources.

Editors and reporters are among those who have been put on the flexible furlough scheme and Press Gazette understands they expect it to last until lockdown ends on 2 December.

Archant, which publishes The New European and local news titles in Norfolk, Suffolk, London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Devon and Somerset, was bought by private equity firm Rcapital in August.

Lower paid staff, such as reporters, are having their wages topped up by the company for the day they are on furlough so they don’t lose any money.

Editors and any other higher paid staff affected receive 80% of their pay through the Government’s job retention scheme, which was extended for the return of lockdown, for the day they are not working.

Each department is being treated separately, with the data and insights team and management among those who continue to work as normal.

Press Gazette understands a number of sales staff were furloughed for the first week of the second lockdown in England, which started on 5 November.

However local businesses have been reassured by the Government’s insistence that the lockdown should not be extended beyond 2 December, meaning demand returned sooner than expected. Staff have therefore been brought back.

Archant declined to comment on the latest measures.

The publisher –  alongside rivals Reach, JPI Media and Newsquest –  previously made use of the furlough scheme for a “small number” of staff in April whose work had “disappeared” or been “radically reduced” by the Covid-19 crisis.

The publisher later made a small number of redundancies in its London and Hertfordshire sports teams.

The Government’s guidance on using the job retention scheme states that employers can flexibly furlough staff meaning they can work any pattern but cannot do any work during their furloughed hours.

Companies are told they can use the scheme if they “cannot maintain your workforce because your operations have been affected by coronavirus”.

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Comments

5 thoughts on “Archant furloughs journalists for one day a week in second lockdown”

  1. It’ll help pay for the chairman’s golden handshake, now for the new owners to clear out the managerial deadwood of under performing sycophsnric yes men commercial heads who have presided over abject failure for almost a decade and shown themselves to be clueless and out of their depths in driving ad revenue,likewise daily editors promoted above their abilities who have gone along with every Ill conceived strategy losing readers,copy sales and credibility as they did so
    Time for long overdue change then watch morale and output increase overnight

  2. Its obviously a loophole the bean counters have jumped through, anything to offset core revenue losses and to paper over the widening cracks we exoerience day in ,day out as we try to sell adverts to people no longer interested in papers hardly sbyinrs buying
    Perhaps if they offloaded the hangers on in the advertising teams,those ‘directors’
    who claim a lot but deliver next to nothing, then the business wouldn’t need to grab at any outside revenue handouts it can get

    New owners please act now, we are lions led by nodding donkeys!

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