Liverpool reverses course, will not furlough employees during coronavirus shutdown

Two days after Liverpool announced it would furlough employees, the club is changing course.

In a statement Monday, Liverpool CEO Peter Moore announced that the team would not place employees on the government-backed Coronavirus Retention Scheme in the United Kingdom.

Moore says the team consulted with “key stakeholders” and came to the conclusion that putting employees on the Coronavirus Retention Scheme was the wrong move. The team also apologized for that decision.

We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme and furlough staff due to the suspension of the Premier League football calendar, and are truly sorry for that. 

Our intentions were, and still are, to ensure the entire workforce is given as much protection as possible from redundancy and/or loss of earnings during this unprecedented period. 

Moore says the team will look for alternate ways to operate while the season is suspended due to coronavirus pandemic.

Why was Liverpool criticized for furloughing staff?

The whole saga began Saturday, when Liverpool announced some staff members would be furloughed while the season was postponed. Under the UK’s job protection program, that meant furloughed workers would receive 80 percent of their salary from the government. Liverpool vowed to pay the remaining 20 percent, meaning staff would still receive full pay while games were postponed.

The move drew criticism because Liverpool is one of the richest teams in the sport. The Coronavirus Retention Scheme is aimed at helping small businesses that can’t afford to pay every employee a living wage while business is at a standstill. It’s not aimed at entities as large and successful as Liverpool.

Some immediately called out the club, wondering why it would make taxpayers foot the bill for its employees. One Liverpool staff member said they were disappointed and felt betrayed by the decision.

How will Liverpool continue to pay its workers?

While the club intends to make sure staff gets paid, it did not announce alternate plans to get through the coronavirus postponement. Liverpool said it would explore various avenues to determine the best way to offset the “inevitable damage” the team will suffer with games on hiatus.

Liverpool was not the only team that announced it would furlough employees. Bournemouth, Newcastle, Norwich and Tottenham have all utilized the program. Manchester City, however, announced it would not furlough employees amid the coronavirus shutdown.

Man City’s decision may have influenced Liverpool to change course.

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