October 17, 2021

Layoff Watch ’20: Grant Thornton U.K. Is Forcing 70 Employees to Take Early Exits

Over the past three months, we’ve chronicled as best we could all the job cuts—which unfortunately have affected several thousands of professionals so far—that have occurred at U.S. public accounting firms during the coronavirus pandemic. Incredibly we haven’t been made aware of or read about any layoffs that have gone down at the biggest accounting firms across the pond. Until now.

Apparently Grant Thornton would rather kick 70 people from its tax and consulting practices to the curb than furlough them under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. That program allows furloughed workers to be paid 80% of their salary, capped at £2,500 a month, until the end of October.

June 10 was the last day employers could apply to use the government-funded furlough program, according to the Financial Times. GT did not apply. And this made some GTers unhappy:

“It is hard to accept that the firm refused assistance from the government’s job retention scheme and have started the process to make staff redundant only weeks later,” one employee told the Financial Times. “Clearly being on the furlough scheme until October 31 and then facing redundancy is better for an employee than being made redundant in July.”

But GTers knew the firm wasn’t going to take advantage of this program. CEO David Dunckley said in April that the firm had “assessed our own business against the criteria for using the furlough scheme” and decided it was not “appropriate.”

So what did GT do instead? It cut the pay and hours of 300 employees and refused to cut the monthly payments its 190 partners receive from the firm’s profits. And now it is laying off 70 staffers.

Accounting firms sure have a weird way of showing how much they care about their employees.

Grant Thornton staff face redundancy as pandemic bites [Financial Times]
Grant Thornton cuts staff pay to weather expected fall in profits [Financial Times]

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