Job Protection

Trade Bodies respond to extended wage protection and loan schemes

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has welcomed the further support announced by the Chancellor to support businesses and viable jobs beyond 31st October,  but calls for further support on training.

Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo commented:

“Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of further restrictions to combat the spread of the virus, there was clearly a need to provide additional financial support to struggling businesses and secure jobs. Consequently, we welcome the new measures outlined by the Chancellor today in respect of Bounce-back Loans and CBILS, as we know that many of our members were very concerned about the prospects of repayment schedules next year.

“We are also pleased to see additional job support once the current furlough scheme ends on 31st October. Requiring employees to work a minimum of 33% of normal hours is, in our view, a sensible option as employees on long term furlough need to get back to work, even if for a limited time. The Job Support Scheme will help our members maintain headcount during the on-going uncertainty, albeit we fear there may still be redundancies.

“However, there is no mention of incentives to provide training for individuals during the Job Support Scheme.  We will continue to call for a relaxation on the use of the Apprenticeship Levy funds to enable businesses to up-skill their workforce during periods of downtime. We are also keen to understand more about the prospect of larger firms being able to claim the Job Support Scheme if their “turnover has fallen” during crisis.

“It is still a concern that the existing gap of support for PSC contractors working outside IR35 remains, although we note such individuals can extend payment of taxes due under self-assessment for 12 months from next January.

“Our recent research has shown green shoots of growth in the economy over the last quarter but many of our members are concerned about the impact of the return to widespread home working. We continue to face tough times, but recruiters can better weather the storm with the right support.  APSCo will continue to provide resources, guidance and insight to its members flowing from its direct access to Government and relationships with industry experts”

In response to the Chancellor’s statement on further support for jobs and businesses, Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said:

“Businesses will welcome much of what the Chancellor has announced. The Job Support Scheme is a big step that is needed in the face of a longer crisis. It’s right to focus on supporting people in work rather than those fully away from jobs that may not be sustainable in the long-term. The detailed design of the scheme should be careful to ensure that it incentivises businesses to keep workers on, not let them go.

“Many firms will breathe a sigh of relief at the cashflow support the Chancellor offered – especially  the VAT and loan repayment deferrals. The extension of support for the self-employed is another a key step. The lack of support for small owner-operating Directors of businesses remains a gap in the structure of government support that we would like the Chancellor to address. These people are key to the recovery of our small businesses.

“The disappointing part of today’s announcement was the lack of focus on the new jobs we need to create. Reductions to the cost of employment via NI and action on a more flexible skills system are vital. And as welcome as today’s additional support is, businesses are looking to government to deliver on testing, which is the way to ensure we can fight the virus and keep the economy going. Another full lockdown must be avoided.”

Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, says:

“The Job Support Scheme will help employers be flexible to protect jobs and incomes as the furlough scheme unwinds, and through some of the economic challenges ahead. This type of short-time working wage subsidy has a proven track record of supporting employment in other countries and CIPD have been highlighting the need for this type of support for employers following the end of the furlough scheme. The announcement is welcomed but can’t provide protection for all, and many businesses and individuals will face restructuring and loss of jobs. Support for re-skilling, guidance, and linking people to where job opportunities do exist will be vital next steps in the coming months.

“We would therefore also liked to have seen a link through the Job Support Scheme to training for staff on reduced hours, in order to make the most of their time not working, help them upgrade their skills, boost their productivity, and provide valuable re-training opportunities. However, we hope this is something that can be developed and added to the scheme once it is up and running. ”

FCSA CEO, Phil Pluck, comments on the Chancellor’s statement.

 On behalf of the FCSA and its members, I am disappointed by the Chancellor’s statement today. Without an Autumn Budget, the Government has taken away the opportunity to introduce wider fiscal stimulus at a time when our economy desperately needs a package of economic support as well as support for job retention.

The contingent workforce is an ever-growing influence and contributor to our economy and yet again it seems that this population, and the businesses that support and employ them, have been handed greater financial burdens not less. Any job retention support package is to be welcomed but it does seem to have left out thousands of contractors and their support business’s once again.

Whilst I understand that the Government must begin to reduce their own financial exposure, in turn, it must understand that outsourced labour businesses, many of whom operated the furlough scheme at a loss, simply cannot take on more cost.

For the purposes of the website, we will need a title. My suggestion would be something quite neutral such as FCSA responds to Chancellor’s new Job Support Scheme announcement.

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