Further Government Research needed

The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) calls for further government research

The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) calls for further government research into the pandemic’s long-term impact on UK employees’ health and career development

ELA is calling the government to conduct further research into the pandemic’s long-term effects on UK employees’ health and career development.  

As part of written evidence submitted to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s inquiry into Employment and COVID-19 – which will be analysing the pandemic’s impact on the UK workforce and what urgent measures should be taken to protect and create jobs – the association recommends the government investigates:

  1. the impact on the mental health of workers of the pandemic; 
  2. whether there is a long-term negative impact on employees’ physical health when working away from the employer’s premises; 
  3. whether remote working has had negative impacts on training employees and particularly in training new and/or inexperienced members of staff; 
  4. whether the effects of the pandemic are more keenly felt by more vulnerable parts of the workforce, which risks accentuating issues like the gender, disability and ethnicity pay gaps; and that the government considers what further measures can be put in place to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on all employees and particularly on the more vulnerable parts of the workforce. 

Clare Fletcher, Professional Support Lawyer at Slaughter and May; Daniella McGuigan, Partner at Ogletree Deakins International LLP; and Lorrelee Traynor, Employment solicitor at NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, made the recommendations on behalf of the ELA’s Legislative and Policy Committee.

ELA’s response to the inquiry recommends that any review of the legal framework should ensure, not only that workers have the rights they need, but also that undue burdens are not placed on employers and business owners. ELA notes that pre- COVID-19 businesses faced a challenging environment preparing for Brexit, and will now find it even harder to cope with additional costs and new employment regulations.

Lorrelee Traynor, Employment Solicitor, commented: “The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK jobs market, with an increase in redundancies and left people’s livelihoods at risk. It’s paramount that the government understands what impact this could have on the long-term mental and physical health of employees, and if it has detrimentally affected their career development. It’s also important to analyse whether this has hampered efforts to close the gender, disability and ethnicity pay gaps. With this information, the government may be able to mitigate the negative consequences on employees and protect more vulnerable parts of the workforce.” 

Notes to Editor 

The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) is an apolitical organisation representing the views and interests of just over 6,000 specialist, qualified employment lawyers in the UK. Members are drawn from all branches of the legal profession and include barristers and solicitors who act for employers and employees, trade unions, the voluntary sector, industry and the judiciary.

Since its inception in 1992, ELA has become the voice of authority in employment law. ELA’s uniqueness rests in the depth and wealth of knowledge of its diverse membership, and its neutrality on political issues.

ELA’s Legislative and Policy Committee consists of experienced solicitors and barristers who meet regularly for a number of purposes including to consider and respond to proposed legislation and regulations. It is not ELA’s role to comment on the political or policy merits or otherwise of proposed legislation or regulation, rather it is to make observations from a legal standpoint.

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