Ever since the World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global public health emergency, the CIPD has been providing the HR profession with regularly updated advice and guidance on keeping workers safe and putting business continuity plans in place.

We’ve also been advising the UK Government, on behalf of the profession and the world of work more broadly, to ensure the support measures it brings in reflect the realities that working people and their employers are facing.

Late last week, we welcomed the Government’s unprecedented package of support for the UK’s employees. Our chief executive, Peter Cheese, said in the Financial Times that employers ‘should hold their nerve while funds arrive’ before making any decisions that would affect workers’ incomes.

Early this week, we gathered support on social media to encourage the Government to support the self-employed, using #SelfEmployedMatterToo. Head of Public Policy, Ben Wilmott, said in an interview with the Telegraph that the self-employed need support measures equivalent to the wage subsidy and job retention scheme for those in employment. We welcomed the support package the Government announced on Thursday for the self-employed, but urged it to make money available as soon as possible for hard-pressed workers facing immediate financial hardship.

In recognition of the immense pressure employers and their HR teams are under at the moment, we called for the Government to provide urgent clarification on essential work. We also supported the decision to relax gender pay gap reporting requirements this year, but urged businesses to delay rather than avoid reporting, so that we don’t lose momentum in addressing inequality. Our press statement was covered by ReutersMail Online, the Independent, and a number of industry publications. Charles Cotton, senior reward adviser for the CIPD, said it’s more important than ever to keep our eye on the gender pay gap ball, because the economic impacts of the coronavirus stand to have a disproportionate impact on women and could cause a temporary – and misleading – narrowing of the pay gap.

Meanwhile, on our social media channels, we continued to share advice and guidance from our Coronavirus hub, including tips for managing a remote workforce and FAQs regarding furloughed workers. Starting on Wednesday 1 April, we’ll be hosting a weekly live Twitter Q&A (#AskTheCIPD) with our policy advisers and membership director on hand to answer the profession’s burning questions. Finally, over on the CIPD Community site, David D’Souza, CIPD Membership Director, shared some wise words of advice for those HR professionals facing ‘a challenge like no other’: ‘assess facts coldly, but treat people warmly’.

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Championing better work and working lives

About the CIPD

At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.