Recent announcements by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor with regard to people working from home and avoiding public venues have led to a growing number of demands for more information about how employers and their staff are expected to deal with these situations.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has said that workers urgently need confirmation on how they will be financially supported through the coronavirus crisis.

Chief Executive Peter Cheese said: “The Government must take early, preventative action now to ensure that working people can receive a level of income to cover their basic living costs for the duration of this crisis. This needs to cover both employees, as well as the 15% of the workforce who work as self-employed or contract workers”.

The TUC has called on the Government to follow other countries with urgent use of wage subsidies to protect working families and save jobs while REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) has asked the Government to provide support to cover 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for all businesses regardless of staff size.

“SSP claims are already putting cash-constrained businesses under huge pressure and risking payments to workers when they need it most,” CEO Neil Carberry said.

The Young Women's Trust has highlighted the disproportionate impact that the closure of schools will have on women, many of whom have no job protection or sick pay owing to their reliance on part-time and precarious contracts that fit around their care responsibilities.

“While deeply challenging and uncertain times lie ahead for everyone,“ Chief Executive Sophie Walker said, “we urgently need the Government to include young women in their thinking and include emergency measures to protect jobs, drastically improve statutory sick pay, suspend all benefit sanctions and provide food and sustained financial support to families who face financial hardship.”

Meanwhile, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is demanding full contractual sick pay, without pre-conditions, for workers in the gig economy.

Comment by Peninsula Associate Director of Advisory Kate Palmer

It seems that every day that the Government issues new packages to support businesses and the wages of workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chancellor has produced a further raft of measures aimed at protecting employment. But time is of the essence — those in employment or facing redundancy need the money now.

The relevant legislation must come into force immediately, otherwise, it may be too late for thousands of workers and the UK’s economic future.

Last reviewed 23 March 2020