UK responds to coronavirus outbreak
On the 2 March the UK government holds its first COBRA meeting to discuss its response to the coronavirus pandemic, releasing its action plan a day later.
The budget includes funds to protect people’s jobs under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which can be claimed from April. A support package for self-employed workers (the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant) is announced three days later.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is made a temporary day one right for all employees. To alleviate the administrative toll on businesses during the crisis, the government’s changes to off payroll working are deferred a year, and it suspends mandatory gender pay gap reporting which critics say will set workplace equality back by decades.
On 24 March the country enters its first widespread lockdown with the message: “Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”
HR in crisis mode
Practically overnight, people teams rush to ensure employees can work from home and set about navigating the rules of the CJRS.
The best bits of HR magazine from March 2020:
Our cover story looks at the alarming rate of in-work poverty even before the pandemic hits and asks what HR can do to help alleviate the strain.
We speak to chief people officer Katherine Easter about what it takes to lead the Pension Protection Fund.
And we ask what businesses need to consider if they are to steer their people through this year’s crisis.
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