Covid-19 – Continuing Impact on Employment

The impact of Covid-19 on employers and employees alike has been vast since the pandemic started spreading across the world and economies in 2020.

In the UK, we have seen substantial impacts on employment including:

  1. The lockdowns and businesses being forced to close.
  2. The Job Retention Scheme (JRS) – also known as Furlough.
  3. Many businesses – particularly hospitality – having to introduce new working practices including eating outside, social distancing, protective equipment and other such matters.
  4. Staff shortages arising from employees contracting Covid-19, having to isolate and restrictions on travel and commuting.

Over the past couple of weeks, a number of other employment related matters arising from Covid-19 have hit the headlines and a number of these are detailed below:

Remote working and retirement

A recent survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that up to 11% of older workers that have been permitted to work entirely from home were planning to delay their retirement until a later age. This compares with 5% of those not working from home. The ONS has also noted that a greater shift to remote working could bring older people back into the labour market that had already retired or were considering retiring.

Employers telling staff they can work wherever they want

Premier Foods, with its Headquarters in St Albans, have told their employees they can work wherever they want. Announcing that their Head Office will remain open, the company announced that their stance is about shifting the mindset on what it means to have flexible working arrangements.

Is this a trend which is likely to followed

Firms unable to operate at full capacity

A further survey last week found that many businesses are still experiencing staff shortages as a result of employees contracting Covid-19 or being asked to isolate.

The survey found that up to 80% of small businesses have found themselves under-staffed and unable to return to full operating capacity.

Furlough finishing on 30 September

The Furlough Scheme is due to finish on 30 September with estimates that as many as 900,000 employees are still expected to be on the Scheme at that date.

There is thought to be huge uncertainty surrounding what happens when the Furlough Scheme finishes with many employers having to make decisions on the future of employees once the support scheme ends.

The lifting of restrictions, the roll out of the vaccination programme and many other factors have lead to a feeling that things are getting more back to normal than they have been for the last 18 months or so. However, there are still many circumstances which are affecting employers and employees as Covid-19 matters continue to evolve and business owners and managers have to keep all factors under constant review in order to ensure that businesses are making decisions based on ever moving circumstances and the most up-to-date factors and information that they can have to hand.

Maintaining up-to-date management accounts is a necessity with these ever-changing circumstances. In addition, maintaining budgets and forecasts, with sensitivity analysis to ensure that these can be adapted and revised according to new circumstances, is a useful tool for business owners and managers alike. Perrys can help and advise with accounting, forecasting, budgeting and general advice on eligibility of grants and assistance. Contact your local branch for help and advice.

Article by: Declan McCusker