Inaction could cause serious harm to the jobs market and the recruitment industry.
The REC delivered a four-point plan to government aimed at helping businesses through the Coronavirus crisis and protect jobs for the longer term:
- Focus on cashflow support to businesses by providing support for wages, flexible timescales for VAT and PAYE payments, and extending the business rates discount to recruiters.
- Fund Statutory Sick Pay for every worker, with quicker access to state support.
- Help recruiters help the NHS and other critical sectors so that staff get where they need to be efficiently and effectively.
- Find people work quickly but safely, with compliant alternatives to face-to-face Right to Work checks.
Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said:
“Employment businesses keep the UK working. Recruiters place a million people into new jobs every year and a million temps into workplaces every day. They need support now to keep the economic engine oiled. The large-scale loan facility announced by the Chancellor and the welcome change to tax rules for freelancers (IR35) were good steps. But more needs to be done at speed.
“The government must take urgent steps to protect workers by funding statutory sick pay for everyone, regardless of how they are employed or who they work for. Agency workers are a vital part of the workforce, especially during a crisis – we must also ensure that they can access the benefits system quickly if work isn’t available.
“We also need to make sure that companies have the cash they need to stay afloat and keep people in their jobs. Flexible payment timeframes for VAT and PAYE, discounted business rates for recruiters and business rent holidays will help the industry to tackle the cashflow problem caused by Coronavirus.
“This is an unprecedented emergency and the recruitment industry is part of the solution. We can harness our expertise, our drive and contacts to ensure that key workers are placed into front-line roles quickly and help those who lose their jobs to make the transition back into work during this crisis. We are asking that the government support us in doing this.”