General manager Martin Johnston says Peterhead have “done the right thing” after 29 staff were invited to return to the club’s payroll following the extension of the UK Government’s job retention scheme.
The Blue Toon announced a fortnight ago, when furlough was set to end on October 31, that the part-time and occasional workers would be let go.
Playing behind closed doors with no fans and matchday hospitality, as well a major drop off in functions held at Balmoor Stadium as a result of the pandemic, meant the Buchan outfit would have been unable to keep the 29 on if furlough finished at the end of October.
However, last week the scheme was extended until March, meaning the affected staff can return to the Peterhead’s pay role.
Johnston said: “For the club it was about doing the right thing and we believe we have absolutely done the right thing.
“Some large organisations may well have taken a chance and decided to pay staff for a couple of weeks after the furlough scheme was set to end to see how it goes.
“But this has come after nine months of a pandemic where the club has had nine months of general expenditure and little income.
“The club had to make a business decision. We also had to do everything in our power to ensure we could offer these staff their jobs back.
“Quite a few have already indicated that they do want to come back when it’s possible.”
Peterhead now hope crowds will be able to return to stadiums soon to allow these staff to return to work.
Johnston added: “The peace of mind we have now is that should we be in a position where we can bring hospitality back to Balmoor Stadium then they would be on part-time furlough or their furlough would end.
“That will come down to the tiered system and crowds getting back into grounds.
“But there is now the peace of mind that we won’t lose quality staff, who have been here for many years, through no fault of our own.
“This gives the staff the opportunity to stay on the books and step back into the breach when we get the green light.
“It’s good that we are able to do that. The amount of wages the staff are getting is not groundbreaking by any means.
“But for one individual an extra £40, £60 or £70 a week can make a big difference to their lifestyle because there is a lot of hardship going on and a lot of tough decisions are being made.
“No matter how late it was, we believe it was the right thing for the government to do and it was the right thing for us to do to reinstate the staff.”