The CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has welcomed the Chancellor’s package of financial measures to support businesses through these exceptional circumstances but warns that more measures are needed to support workers and protect jobs.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD comments:

"We are pleased the Chancellor has pledged to work with trade unions and business bodies to develop new forms of employment support to protect people and jobs as this crisis develops.

“It is absolutely fundamental that peoples’ incomes and jobs are protected during this challenging period. The Government must take early, preventative action now to ensure that working people can receive a level of income to cover their basic living costs for the duration of this crisis. This needs to cover both employees, as well as the 15% of the workforce who work as self-employed or contract workers.

“As part of this additional support there is a strong case to temporarily increase the level of Statutory Sick Pay and widen its eligibility, so it is payable to all working people, including the self-employed. Recent CIPD research found that workers facing either statutory sick pay or no pay as a result of the Coronavirus said they’d face financial hardship in just one week.

“There is a profound sense of urgency to support people in this situation, but we need to look at job protection as well. The Chancellor’s announcements will help to solve immediate cashflow concerns. However, the Government must ensure they follow with mechanisms for businesses to maintain payroll and minimise job losses through what will be a prolonged yet temporary event.

“To protect peoples’ jobs, we encourage the Government to create a wage subsidy fund, payable to employers, to ensure workers continue to be paid and minimise the risk of redundancies as a result of coronavirus.

“We look forward to working with the Government to help develop this type of policy intervention and protect working people, while supporting employers and employment throughout this crisis.”

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