CIPD in the news: investment in skills, addressing employee financial wellbeing, and making the most of hybrid working

A round-up of some of the CIPD’s latest work to champion better work and working lives

Throughout March the CIPD has provided expert commentary and guidance on the future of work as we look towards post-pandemic normality. 

From calling for greater government investment in skills, to calling on organisations to support their employees' financial wellbeing, the CIPD continues its commitment to improving working lives. 

Responding to the UK’s 2021 Budget and extension of the Job Retention Scheme

At the beginning of March, the UK’s Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, set out his 2021 Budget. A vital part of this was extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to the end of September. The CIPD had been calling for the scheme to be extended for a number of months, in order to provide more stability for businesses and avoid a ‘cliff edge’ end to support and help to protect thousands of jobs.

The CIPD welcomed the extension to the scheme but urged the government to shift its focus from job protection to greater investment in skills and supporting job seekers. This will be critical to economic recovery in the coming months, as we move through what is hoped to be the final stages of the pandemic. 

In a media statement, chief executive Peter Cheese called the announcements on skills ‘underwhelming’ and ‘undermined by the continued failure to reform the Apprenticeship Levy into a more flexible training levy’. This was picked up by the Financial Times, HR Magazine and Personnel Today.

Supporting employees’ financial wellbeing 

The CIPD’s latest Reward Management Survey found that half of employers don’t have a financial wellbeing policy – that's despite the financial hardship many have experienced as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The CIPD is calling for every large employer to have a financial wellbeing policy that feeds into their overall wellbeing strategy. The CIPD website has a range of practical information for businesses of all sizes, including three simple steps any employer can take to build a financial wellbeing policy

The CIPD’s call was covered by Personnel Today, HR Review and Office Insight

Overcoming hybrid working headaches  

Employers, the media and policymakers are also discussing future ways of working. In particular, there is a huge focus on hybrid working and how organisations can best support employees to get the most out of combining remote working and being in the workplace. The CIPD’s new Planning for hybrid working guide offers advice for organisations on how they can prepare for a return to the workplace, as well as a longer term move to hybrid working. 

National media have also asked the CIPD for comment on what employers need to consider when moving to a hybrid model. Chief executive Peter Cheese discussed this with The Sunday Times, warning that organisations need to be mindful of creating a two-tier hierarchy between those who can work from home and those who need to be in the workplace.

Senior policy adviser Claire McCartney spoke about how organisations must be mindful of treating people fairly when teams are split between workplaces and home in a piece with The Telegraph. Claire also appeared on Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd’s Reasons to be Cheerful podcast, looking at the future of the workplace, hybrid working, and flexible working more generally. Claire discussed the principles behind the CIPD’s #FlexFrom1st campaign and why flexible working requests should be a day-one right. 

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