PA to furlough sports journalists to 'mitigate financial impact' of Covid-19

PA has confirmed 44 of its journalists covering sport and racing will be furloughed in action to “mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19”.

A total of 39 sports journalists and five racing journalists will be put on paid leave under the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, which covers 80 per cent of their salaries up to £30,000 a year.

A spokesperson said the action was being taken “due to the cessation of sport and racing worldwide” as mass gatherings are banned in efforts to slow the spread of the virus in the UK and abroad.

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Twenty-two sports journalists will continue to work for the news agency, providing updates on the impact of the crisis on sport as well as features and archive content.

A spokesperson said this content would “assist our customers in populating their sports sections during the current extraordinary circumstances”.

The PA wire’s news operation is not affected by these measures.

A number of employees from PA Media Group, parent company of the PA news agency, will also be put on furlough or told to take unpaid leave.

In total, about a quarter of the group’s staff are affected.

Senior executive management at the group have also agreed to cut their salaries by 30 per cent in steps to help support it during the pandemic.

“The company will be considering what further measures should be taken to mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19,” said a spokesperson.

Already the group has frozen recruitment, while freelancer and contractor costs have been “scaled back” and offers to new recruits who have not yet taken up their roles have been rescinded.

PA Media Group’s head of HR has told staff: “Acting now will help us reduce the prospect of major job losses and retain our existing talent for when business returns to some normality in the future.”

Read all Press Gazette’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and the news industry here

Picture: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes

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