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Christian Aid furloughs 20% of UK staff to continue int'l work during COVID-19 outbreak

Christian Aid
ChristianAid.org

The U.K.-based humanitarian organization Christian Aid said it will furlough about one-fifth of its staff and temporarily cut wages of still-employed staff to help ensure its “core international work” can continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement Wednesday, the charity that works to promote sustainable development to address poverty around the globe announced it will implement the U.K. Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help keep operations afloat in the midst of the crisis. 

The nongovernmental organization said it expects to furlough about 20% of its U.K.-based staff while asking all non-furloughed U.K. staff to move to a four-day workweek at 80% of salary for a 12-week span from May to July. 

The organization’s directors and most senior managers will not be furloughed but have been asked to take only 80% pay while working full-week schedules. 

Under the U.K.’s furlough program, the government pays 80% of furloughed employees’ salaries up to £2,500 ($3,091) a month until the end of June. 

According to Christian Aid, the decision aims to “ensure livelihoods in the long term.”

“These have been and continue to be hard decisions to make. We must do what is right for the communities we serve, for supporters who walk with us and for our staff,” CEO Amanda Khozi Mukwashi said in a statement. 

‘Whilst there are many threats to our traditional income sources, it is also clear that Christian Aid’s vision, mission and values are needed now more than ever. This is our moment to show the world we care, we are equipped, and we can join the fight against this pandemic.” 

Christian Aid was founded by British and Irish churches following World War II and describes itself as a “partnership of people, churches and local organizations committed to ending poverty worldwide.” 

The charity has provided humanitarian aid and long-term development support for impoverished communities across the world. 

Christian Aid anticipates the equivalent of about a $7 million drop in unrestricted income in the current financial year and looks to save over $1 million in payroll over the next nine weeks. 

The organization declared that it's “taking the step to focus on what is business-critical to support vulnerable communities over the next few weeks.”

According to a press release, the charity will implement the job retention scheme from April 27-June 30. Christian Aid says it will ensure that no staff member falls “below the real living wage.”

Despite the announcement, Christian Aid expects critical functions needed to deliver aid in countries where health systems are weak during the global pandemic will “remain at full capacity.” 

Christian Aid’s decision comes as many charities and businesses are pondering whether to lay off employees due to declining revenues as stay-at-home orders remain in effect in many countries. 

Over 1 million workers in the U.K. have been placed on temporary leave due to the government's imposed closure of businesses deemed nonessential in response to the coronavirus and thousands of companies have applied to be part of the U.K.’s furlough program, according to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

In the United States, charities have also been forced to lay off thousands of employees during the pandemic, according to Nonprofit Quarterly

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