Porter Using Federal Program to Rehire Hundreds

There’s good news for Porter Airlines employees.

The airline on Friday said it intends to access the federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to return hundreds of its team members to payroll.

The airline temporarily suspended all flights on March 21, to support the public health response to COVID-19, and as travel restrictions and personal movement limitations were increasing. The majority of Porter’s 1,500 team members received temporary layoff notices at that time, with a small group maintaining business continuity.

“Our team is showing outstanding dedication during a time when most are unable to work,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines. “As we look ahead to restarting flights when it is appropriate to do so, we are doing everything possible to stay connected with our people. The ability to use CEWS is one way of doing this. We appreciate the federal government’s support in this regard.”

CEWS provides a 75% wage subsidy (capped at $58,700 annually) to eligible employers for a limited period. This equates to a maximum benefit of $847 per week, before source deductions.

“We have taken time to understand how CEWS works in practice and ensure that our team members have an option to choose what government income support program works best for them today and in the future,” added Deluce.

Porter intends to welcome back team members to active roles as operations restart and rebuild to previous levels. In the meantime, anyone currently on temporary layoff who is returned to payroll via CEWS will remain at home on inactive status.

Certain team member health benefits have been maintained and paid for by the company during the temporary layoff period. This will continue, as will access to an Employee Assistance Program and other wellness programs.

Other Canadian airlines also have taken advantage of the federal program to rehire laid off employees, including Air Canada and Transat.

Source: Travel Pulse Canada

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