CIPD in the News: from navigating the end of COVID 19 restrictions in England to making work a more reliable route out of poverty

A round up of the CIPD’s latest work championing better work and working lives

During the month of February, the CIPD shared its expertise on a range of key workplace issues. 

This included contributing to public policy conversations on the menopause at work and ethnicity pay reporting, as well as reacting to the lifting of COVID 19 restrictions in England and what such changes mean for employers.

Making work a more reliable route out of poverty

The CIPD has launched a brand-new web hub to raise awareness of the role employers can play to help tackle in-work poverty. In collaboration with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the web hub helps employers understand the measures they can take to support their workforce.

The hub was endorsed by organisations including the Living Wage Foundation, the Work Foundation and the Money and Pensions Service. Higher than average engagement rates and a number of positive comments on both Twitter and LinkedIn confirmed just how important it is for the CIPD to be exercising its voice and influence on this issue. As one commentator said:

‘I see a lot of content on my timeline about poverty in all its forms. But I think this is the first time I’ve seen a campaign aimed at employers and asking them to do something about in-work poverty. Well done @CIPD for raising this’.  

Shaping public policy on the menopause at work and ethnicity pay reporting

CIPD experts are regularly called to the UK’s Houses of Parliament to give evidence to Select Committees, which are set up to investigate specific issues and make recommendations to Government.

In January, Charles Cotton, CIPD Senior Policy Advisor, gave oral evidence to the Women and Equality commission on ethnicity pay reporting. The resulting report was published this month and echoed the CIPD’s call for mandatory ethnicity pay reporting, as reported by a number of news outlets including the Guardian and People Management.

In February, the same Committee gathered evidence on the case for making it a legal requirement for all employers to have a menopause policy, and for making the menopause a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act. The CIPD's Senior Policy Advisor, Claire McCartney, provided written and oral evidence on the vital role that workplace menopause policies and support frameworks can play, but stopped short of calling for this to be a legal requirement. She said mandatory policies risk being too prescriptive and could encourage employers to take a tick-box approach that doesn’t enable real change in workplace cultures and practices. She also argued that better enforcement of the existing provisions of the Equality Act would provide much better protection from discrimination than introducing any new laws. 

Highlighting the impact of long COVID on employee wellbeing and performance 

The CIPD launched its Working with long COVID report, to help organisations effectively support employees with long COVID to return to and stay in work. An estimated 1.3 million people across the UK are experiencing self-reported long COVID and there is an increased demand for employee support from organisations and people professionals. 

The Financial Times and Mail Online reported that a quarter of UK employers cite long COVID as a major cause of long-term work absence. HR Magazine, People Management and Personnel Today also covered these issues at length. The Independent reported that the long-term effects of long COVID are impacting employee performance.  

Helping employers navigate the lifting of COVID restrictions  

February saw the end of COVID-19 restrictions across England and the CIPD quickly reacted to the news with updated guidance. The removal of all legal restrictions will have knock-on consequences for employees and their organisations, and the CIPD warned that employers will need to make tough decisions to minimise the impact.  

Ben Willmott, CIPD Head of Public Policy, was quoted in the Guardian: ‘There are real costs, hidden costs of not paying statutory sick pay at a reasonable rate. The onus is likely to shift to employers to decide how best to manage the risk of COVID in the workplace.’ 

Ben also commented on the impact lifting restrictions could have on businesses for a piece in the Telegraph. Peter Cheese, CIPD Chief Executive, was also interviewed on BBC News, Channel 5 live and Sky News.  

Shining a light on employers’ response to the tight labour market

The CIPD’s quarterly Labour Market Outlook is one of the most authoritative employment indicators in the UK . It provides policy makers and media commentators with forward-looking data and analysis on employers’ recruitment, redundancy and pay intentions. The report is always highly anticipated by media, and the latest was no exception.

The Winter 21-22 report found many employers are raising pay and offering more work flexibility to boost their recruitment and retention efforts. This caught the attention of a wide range of national, regional and trade media outlets including Sky News, LBC, the Guardian, The Times and The Scotsman. The CIPD’s Labour Market Economist, Jon Boys, was also invited to discuss the report’s findings and latest employment figures on BBC Radio Scotland (2 hours 35 mins).

Responding to coronavirus

As we continue to deal with the ongoing fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the CIPD continues to collate and publish updated resources to support the people profession

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