Work with recruitment industry to get economy up and running

Government should weigh up how health-focused activity against the Covid-19 virus and economic activity can “run in parallel” as the pandemic recovery phase begins, REC CEO Neil Carberry has told Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

In a letter published yesterday (28 May 2020), Carberry urges Sunak to work with the recruitment industry in a number of ways to revitalise the economy and therefore improve the employment and financial picture for millions of Britons who “work for weekly and/or variable pay packets and on temporary contracts”.

“As we move into the recovery stage, we should be thinking more about how the battle against the virus and economic activity can run in parallel – how people can work and self-isolate if they need to,” the letter says. As an example, Carberry suggests that government “reconsider the extent of SSP [Statutory Sick Pay] that is refundable to all businesses… as this will enable self-isolation where necessary and protect labour-intensive businesses – such as staffing firms – from bills that could cripple hiring in the short-term”.

Also, recruiters and staffing firms are “ready to help” with “active and innovative support measures” that are needed in the jobs market, he says.

Key requests made to government are:

  • Provide more clarity on existing rules and future enforcement of the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme [CJRS] and how the future scheme will or will not work for people on temporary contracts. “It is unlikely that many agency workers could remain furloughed if a contribution from agencies at a time when these businesses have so little income from clients. Some form of grant may be required if government wants furloughing to continue beyond 1 August in this sector.”
  • Extend SSP to all businesses.
  • Work with the business community to develop “new approach for supporting Limited Company Directors”.
  • Harness the recruitment sector’s expertise to tackle unemployment.

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