Trade Bodies React

Responses to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

In response to the Chancellor’s announcement on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme leading trade bodies APSCo, CIPD and REC have given their reactions;

“This is exactly what is needed”, said Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo. “The fact that the full scheme has been extended until the end of July and then tapered down to allow workers back part-time until at least October is in line with our recommendations. Our view, as we expressed in the letter, was that the Job Retention Scheme should be refined to give firms the flexibility they require to gradually bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis, and that the percentage of salary funded by Government could then be tapered down to address any increase in working hours.  We’d like to thank the Government for listening to our views and providing a staged route to having employees back at work where they belong.”

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and development, said:

“The decision to extend the furlough scheme and make it more flexible at the same time will bring a sigh of relief from employers across the UK.  These changes will give businesses the breathing space they need to bring people back from furlough gradually on reduced hours as lockdown measures are unwound.  Without this, it’s very likely that the Government’s job retention scheme would have proved to simply be a waiting room for unemployment. The scheme has already saved as many as four million redundancies being made and will now continue to help protect jobs as the economy slowly recovers.

We’re delighted that the Chancellor has listened to calls from the CIPD and people professionals to extend and make the scheme more flexible. We must also recognise that with more flexibility in the system comes a greater responsibility for businesses to make appropriate use of the scheme, and to support their people fairly. Businesses will need to show they are adapting as they gradually bring their people back to work, communicating openly, and that they have taken the necessary steps to make their workplaces safe in accordance with government guidance.”

Neil Carberry, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said:

“The Chancellor is right to extend the furlough scheme. This announcement recognises a point that the REC has raised repeatedly – the big jobs battle is against a longer-term unemployment crisis. A longer period of operation for the scheme, combined with the possibility of part-time furlough, is exactly the action that was needed.

“But both the current and future versions of CJRS need to serve temporary workers better. Government has been too slow to ensure agencies can furlough staff on the same low cost basis as other employers, soft-pedalling guidance on holiday pay and the level of reassurance required from clients that a temp will be able to return. Action is needed now on this – and the part-time furlough system will also have to work for temps as well as permanent staff. REC data shows that the majority of agencies have furloughed at least some of their agency staff, but the ongoing lack of clarity on these key issues has held others back.”

“Government can rely on marshalling the private sector to help with the unemployment fight. Using the experts in the UK’s recruitment and staffing sector, working in partnership with JobCentres to advise jobseekers and find them new roles is a simple and effective step. We are ready to help”.

For more information and reaction on the Coronavirus Pandemic and how it will affect your business, please continue to follow The Global Recruiter news service.

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