For this British travel agency, the holidays offered a lifeline
“My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of those trying to make it happen, because we know the only numbers that really matter are your economy.
As the UK leave program nears its final days at the end of September, employers face tough decisions about returning employees on leave to work.
The government program, introduced in March 2020, provided subsidies covering up to 80% of workers’ wages if companies kept them on the payroll rather than sacking them. The payments protected millions of jobs at the height of the pandemic.
“My daily job was a dream, in fact, creating brilliant memories for people and their families,” said Claire Moore, Managing Director of Peakes Travel Elite in Shropshire, England. “Now we seem to be more of a risk assessor and someone who helps people navigate the much more difficult world of travel.”
Moore said when the UK imposed closures last March, his business was hit hard by the sudden loss of customers.
“Personally, I felt anxious and overwhelmed because we had no income,” Moore said. “We immediately started repaying the profits we had previously earned on these missed departures. “
To mitigate the sudden loss of income, Moore put 10 of his 13 team members on leave. While the time off kept her business afloat, it was not a definitive solution. Unlike a restaurant or bar, which would shut down indefinitely, Moore said, it had to keep some employees at work to handle day-to-day responsibilities, like reimbursements and new travel bookings.
“I heard a great analogy: you can open the pub, but you can’t actually sell drinks. And, in fact, what you really need to do is go and reimburse all those people who bought you a drink last year, ”Moore said. “So unfortunately I still had to make redundancies, and in July of last year I lost seven members of my team because I needed to secure the future of the company. “
As the leave program draws to a close, Moore said she is working with her team to determine how they will return to work.
“The team has agreed for October, and we’ll be reviewing it every month, to work 75% of their contract hours, which is what they will be paid for,” she said.
While the future of the travel industry looks bleak, Moore said, things are starting to improve as leisure travel slowly returns. “Across the industry there will be many successful, honest and viable businesses that will fail without a doubt,” she said. “So that’s positive, but a little apprehensive, I guess.”
Let us know how your economy is doing using the form below, and your story could be featured in a future edition of “My Economy”.. “