Covid crisis: Artist agencies stand down staffmain
An email to an agent at AskonasHolt today drew this auto-response:
Following the introduction of the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Askonas Holt has placed a number of staff – myself included – on a temporary leave of absence from 1 April until 31 May 2020.
Whilst I am away, colleagues will be handling enquiries related to my artists.
We hear that just over half of AH staff have been put on furlough, and that similar measures are being taken at Columbia Artists in New York. At Askonas they are on full paid leave.
We’re not so sure about Columbia.
A message on the AH website reads:
Our priority right now is to support our artists and their loved ones as they face the arduous months ahead, and to safeguard and support the entire Askonas Holt family into the future.
UPDATE: We’ve seen the letter that AH sent out to agents and artists a couple of days ago. Here goes:
I hope that you are keeping safe and well in these extraordinary times. Thank you for all your messages of support and kindness these past weeks.
I’m writing to let you know that Askonas Holt has taken advantage of the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and we are therefore placing a significant number of our colleagues on a paid leave of absence (called furloughing) for a temporary period, initially for two months. Our predicament – and you will understand this all too well – is that our income streams have all but dried up, and we have to do what we can to save on costs.
This scheme will allow us to access government funds, and help our company to navigate through these turbulent waters. Furloughed staff are not allowed to work for Askonas Holt during their temporary absence. We may extend this scheme in parallel with any UK Government extension, and we will inform you accordingly.
With few performances happening due to worldwide restrictions on public gatherings, it makes sense for us to reduce our capacity for a temporary period. Therefore, in addition to the furloughing scheme, the staff at Askonas Holt have volunteered to move to an 80% working week, with colleagues working four days per week.
While temporarily you may not have your usual team working for you, please be assured that you will continue to receive the ‘Askonas Holt service’, and we will work even harder to ensure that you have the full functionality of the company at your disposal. We will be in touch with you individually to confirm your day-to-day contacts and we are here to answer any queries which you may have.
In the meantime, I wish you, your families and friends all the strength and health required to rise to the challenges that face us in the months to come. We remain optimistic about the future, assured by the heightened relevance of the arts in these uncertain times.
Chief Executive, Askonas Holt
on behalf of the Board and Staff at Askonas Holt