Britain's largest publisher, Penguin Random House, has begun to furlough its staff in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Last week some warehouse staff in the distribution side of the business were furloughed and this week the process has been widened to include office staff in London. Analysis is underway to decide who will be affected, with decisions communicated to them over the next two week. Salaries will be topped up by the company so those affected do not lose out financially. PRH US has not implemented any furlough program.
PRH UK CEO Tom Weldon said: "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. This is a temporary but necessary measure to protect jobs and the long-term health of the company. 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."
Under the furloughing scheme announced by the U.K.government, the state will pay 80% of salary up to £30,000 a year.
PRH is the latest U.K. publisher taking cost out of the business as the grip of the epidemic tightens. Last Friday, PanMac announced it was looking for staff to take voluntary pay cuts, while both Bonnier and Hachette are furloughing around 10%.
A version of this story appeared in BookBrunch.