Southwest Airlines said the just-signed stimulus bill will allow it to avoid employee furloughs – which would have been a first in the company’s approximately 50-year history.
CEO Gary Kelly wrote in memo to employees on Sunday that the law extending the Payroll Support Program, known as PSP, "means we can stop the movement towards furloughs and pay cuts that we previously announced."
A copy of the memo was obtained by CNN.
Southwest was planning on furloughing 6,828 employees in the spring, which would have been a first in the company’s 50-year history. The airline had offered the unions representing its employee groups a choice: either take a pay cut to preserve jobs, or furloughs.
The law means "we can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that we will not be forced to follow through with those steps that are so foreign to all of us," Kelly wrote.
The new stimulus gives airlines another $16 billion for worker payroll support and bars any new furloughs until March 31, 2021.
American Airlines also said prior to the bill’s passage that if it did become law, American would bring back all furloughed employees.