During December and January, employers and people professionals were faced with a series of new and ongoing challenges, both as a result of the pandemic and beyond. Through engagement with the media, policy makers and people professionals, the CIPD continued its work to support employers and working lives.

The last two months saw the CIPD continue pro-actively engaging in the debate around how best to approach the UK’s economic recovery, provide practitioners with the support they need for the Brexit transition, as well as launching brand new support materials for line managers.

Limiting the impact of the pandemic on working lives

The CIPD continues to raise awareness and highlight ways that the UK Government can better support organisations and workers through the economic impacts of the pandemic.

Calling for an extension to the Furlough Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (or Furlough) was a key area of focus. Since its inception in Spring 2020, the scheme has ensured millions of UK workers remain in employment and continue to receive a portion of their salary.

In early December the CIPD wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, outlining its recommendations on extending and maintaining the scheme to provide greater certainty to businesses for the coming months. And in early 2021, the CIPD has continued to contribute to this debate.

In recent weeks, and with now less than six weeks until the Chancellor’s Budget, the CIPD has again urged the Government to extend the scheme to protect jobs, support incomes and enhance skills development. Using the insights and feedback from CIPD members and key networks, the CIPD is calling on the Government to act early and extend the scheme to the end of June 2021.

As Jonathan Boys, Labour Market Analyst at the CIPD, says: ‘Businesses need certainty now on what support will be available to them in the months ahead. Our survey shows that many want the furlough scheme to extend beyond April, but the Chancellor has said that this won’t be reviewed until March at the earliest. Businesses cannot wait that long for certainty, they need a clear indication of Government support to June at least and they need to know this in good time’. Jon was quoted in the TelegraphHR Grapevine and Onrec.

For more detail of the CIPD’s three calls to the UK Government around the future of the furlough scheme, read The Future of Furlough: Recommendations for now and for any future wage subsidy scheme.

A postcode lottery for those told to self-isolate?

New data obtained by the CIPD in early January found that overall, just 35% of claims made by individuals asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace are being paid out by local councils.  

The data suggests many people who are asked to self-isolate might not receive the financial support they need. Given the significant rise of cases in the UK over recent weeks, the CIPD is calling for an urgent review into the compensation scheme to ensure individuals don’t continue to attend work when they’ve been asked to self-isolate, simply because they can’t afford not to.

The findings – which were covered in the Observer, Guardian, and Financial Times – also showed significant differences in the rate of payments distributed to applicants depending on where they were in the country. This makes for a postcode lottery on whether workers on low incomes receive the financial compensation they need when asked to self-isolate.  

Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD, said the Government should ‘urgently review its operation, with a view to ensuring consistency over the criteria councils use to grant compensation payments. It must ensure the eligibility criteria isn’t overly strict, ruling out deserving applicants who are trying to do the right thing’.

Line manager support

CIPD research has consistently highlighted the important role line managers play in influencing whether an employee has a good or bad day at work. Yet, often busy and under pressure line managers are not getting the training and resources they need to support staff on a whole range of wellbeing and engagement issues.

This is particularly relevant at the moment, with the pandemic likely to make individuals more vulnerable to health and wellbeing concerns. Worryingly, research shows that over a third of managers haven’t checked in on the wellbeing of their staff at all since the onset of the pandemic.

Managers need to support their teams to be happy, healthy and performing at their best within their role. To help them do this, the CIPD has launched new line manager support materials. Quick and easy to use, and designed for anyone that manages people, users can get tailored recommendations on how to improve their management sills and support the wellbeing and engagement of their teams.

Learners can track their development across the resources, and learn at times that suit them. The resource pages have had around 30,000 unique views to date, and the CIPD will continue to update the materials with resources on a range of subject matters.

Equipping practitioners with the tools for a smooth Brexit transition

Following the expiry of the Brexit transition period and the end of free movement from the EU, a new UK immigration system was introduced at the start of 2021.

To support practitioners, The CIPD launched a post-Brexit legal guide for employers in early January to help them and employers get up to speed with the new system quickly. From employer requirements around the EU settlement scheme, to how to apply for and secure a sponsorship license, it offers step-by-step guidance to ensure organisations can support their people and remain compliant.

The CIPD Brexit Hub also remains up-to-date with the latest knowledge, resources and guidance for people professionals.

Media Centre

If you’re a journalist or member of the press looking for more information or to speak to one of our experts, please contact our press team. 

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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.