Hearts put staff on furlough leave due to coronavirus impact

Tynecastle club cut costs but will welcome workers back

By Barry Anderson
Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 3:55 pm
Many staff at Tynecastle Park have been placed on furlough leave.
Many staff at Tynecastle Park have been placed on furlough leave.

Hearts have put the majority of non-football staff on furlough leave as an alternative to 50 per cent pay cuts.

The move sees those affected stop working immediately at Tynecastle Park to go unpaid by the club until the coronavirus pandemic eases.

However, they are entitled to claim 80 per cent of their salaries back from the Government for at least the next three months.

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Hearts are the latest Scottish club to use the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme following moves by Celtic and Dundee United.

Discussions took place late into last night between owner Ann Budge and senior Tynecastle officials in the latest effort to mitigate the effects of football's shutdown.

Hearts employ more than 70 people in administration and commercial roles and the majority of those have now been placed on furlough. They have been told they will be welcomed back into their jobs once income streams improve.

Budge asked all playing and non-playing staff to accept a 50 per cent pay cut two weeks ago before the Job Retention Scheme was announced.

That initiative promises to cover 80 per cent of workers' wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Budge has stressed no Hearts employee will be paid less than the Real Living Wage of 18,135.

A Hearts spokesperson said: “The board’s priority has always been to both protect jobs and ensure the club’s survival during these unprecedented times.

“The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic means that many of our operations have effectively been brought to a standstill.

“We are now in a position whereby we can fully utilise the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, and as such we have taken the decision to furlough the majority of non-football employees. This will safeguard jobs and guarantee those employees 80 per cent of their income.

“The club will ensure that no member of staff falls below the Living Wage rate. We will continually review the situation and look forward to welcoming staff back when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

“A number of members of staff continue to operate fully within their roles to ensure we are in the best position possible when football returns.

“The club continues to work with the football department to find the best solution to the current situation, with the same objectives in mind, namely to protect jobs and our future.”

Hearts players remain at home working on personal training programmes and talks regarding their pay reductions are ongoing with the Tynecastle hierarchy.

They would prefer wages to be deferred rather than cut and PFA Scotland are conducting negotiations on their behalf.

Government rules state that employees who apply to the Job Retention Scheme should not be doing any work for their company, and by following fitness plans players are technically still working.

Captain Steven Naismith has already agreed to a 50 per cent drop in his remuneration, whilst manager Daniel Stendel is working without pay.

Defender Clevid Dikamona has terminated his contract by mutual consent and returned to France with his family.