delayed

Aviation contractors axed jobs as U.S. delayed aid, House panel finds

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. aviation contractors laid off thousands of workers due to delays in payroll aid from the U.S. Treasury that was meant to protect jobs, an investigation by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee found.

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), companies in the aviation sector were granted funds to cover six months of their payroll as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a precipitous decline in air travel.

The legislation banned any job cuts through September, and requires the U.S. Department of the Treasury to begin distributing funds to eligible companies within 10 days of the law’s approval on March 27.

But an investigation by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found that top contractors did not receive the money until months later, resulting in more than 16,500 layoffs and furloughs at 15 companies, more than 15% of the aviation contractor workforce.

“Had Treasury met the deadline set by Congress, many of these jobs would have been preserved,” the report said.

Treasury did not immediately comment.

Among the top seven contractors, Swissport waited 99 days before its payroll support agreement with Treasury was finalized, Gate Gourmet 78 days and Flying Food Fare 74 days, leading to nearly 12,000 layoffs and furloughs at those three companies alone.

The companies still received the full amount of federal aid based on their pre-pandemic workforce, even though they had laid off many of those workers, the report said.

Swissport, Gate Gourmet and Flying Food Fare did not immediately comment.

Aviation contractors were awarded $3 billion under the first CARES Act and could see those funds extended for another six months if Congress passes a second stimulus package.

The report recommends another round of aid but said layoffs should be prohibited until a company uses all of

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Care homes in England fear new Covid-19 cases as 90% of test results delayed

Nearly nine out of 10 Covid-19 tests taken under the system used by care homes in England were returned after the government’s 48-hour target in September, official figures reveal.



a man and a woman sitting in a room: Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP via Getty Images


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Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP via Getty Images

The performance of the NHS test-and-trace system has sparked warnings from care managers that continued delays will increase the risk of infection among their vulnerable residents.

At the end of the first month in which tests were routinely provided to care home staff and residents, 87% of those carried out at satellite testing centres, predominantly used by care homes, were returned after more than two days. Over half took more than three days to come back.

Related: Health officials fear de-prioritising of Covid testing in care homes in England

Ministers had promised weekly testing in care homes in the summer, but it only began comprehensively in September. The health minister James Bethelltold parliament 48 hours was the target for getting results back.

Care workers are now being tested weekly and residents monthly, but managers are concerned that delays of over a week in some cases in receiving results mean asymptomatic staff could be spreading infection.

Recorded infections in care homes have been falling slightly, according to Public Health England figures, but there are fears that in areas of rising community infection, such as the north of England, once the virus gets into homes there are likely to be increases in cases.

Mark Adams, the chief executive of Community Integrated Care, a national charity that is one of the biggest care providers in Liverpool, said it currently ttook three and a half days on average to get results. Only one in five weekly staff tests were coming back with the government’s 48-hour target.

There have only been a handful of positive

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