Guidance and Legislation
Access to Work have updated the Access to Work factsheet for employers. Access to Work provides grants to help disabled people start or stay in work. The updated guidance confirms that employees affected by the current pandemic may be able to access help with working from home, in the workplace or a combination of both. Additional funding may be available for travel costs for those who cannot use public transport for health reasons as well as the provision of remote support services such as video remote interpreting.
Reports continue on the extent to which businesses are embracing remote working during the pandemic. Adzuna, an online jobs search engine, has found a 147% rise in the number of remote jobs being advertised. A poll of business leaders by Management Today had found 55% would now be more likely to consider hiring an employee who would completely or predominantly work remotely. However, while there seems to be a consensus that increased levels of home working is here to stay only 33% of respondents are actively advertising roles as predominantly remote.
The CIPD has indicated more acceptance of all types of flexible working is needed. A survey by Working Families focusing on businesses support for employees who are parents or carers has found a "huge leap forward" in flexible working during the pandemic with 85% of respondents saying over half of their employees worked flexibly, up from 50% pre-pandemic. There has also been an increasing interest in flexible working from male employees which, if continued, could have a positive impact more broadly on gender equality in the workplace.
While some businesses are able to utilise home working and flexible working, there are many other sectors where that is simply not an option. Unfortunately, even with the introduction of the CJRS, nearly half a million redundancies were planned in the first 5 months of the pandemic. Unemployment figures have hit their highest level in three years and the CEBR thinktank has warned that nearly 3 million people may be unemployed by Christmas, driving the unemployment rate to over 8% for the first time in nearly a decade. It is hoped that the recently announced extension of the CJRS to the end of March 2021 will have a significant impact in reducing job losses.