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Up to 878 jobs to go at Hays Travel

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The owners of Hays Travel say they are “devastated” about the jobs losses but that the government’s travel advice and changes to the furlough scheme have left them with no choice.

The travel company, which employs about 4,500 staff, said the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s decision to advise against non-essential travel and re-impose quarantine requirements for holidays to Spain “triggered the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays”.

Hays Travel owners John and Irene Hays said: “We are devastated that after all of our efforts and the huge investment we’ve made we now face losing some of our valued employees, through no fault of their own.

“Following the decision to ban travel to Spain and the changes in furlough conditions coming at the same time, we have had no choice.

“We are also devastated for everyone who may lose their job and we will do all we can in consultations to help them, as we focus on retaining as many people as possible and rebuilding consumer confidence through our renowned friendly and knowledgeable customer service.”

When it began in March, the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme covered 80% of staff salaries up to £2,500 a month. But support is now tapering off with employers obliged to pay furloughed staff’s national insurance and pension contributions from this month.

In September, companies will have to start paying 10% of furloughed employees’ salaries, rising to 20% in October before the scheme ends.

Hays Travel bought Thomas Cook’s retail stores in October last year following the collapse of the travel agency.

The government changed travel advice for Spain last weekend and introduced 14-day quarantine rules for anyone returning from mainland Spain or the Spanish islands. The rule changed disrupted the holiday plans of thousands of travellers.