Coronavirus: employers urged to only cut jobs after exhausting other options

Employers are being asked to consider all options available to them before imposing redundancies – with one in four expecting to make permanent workforce cuts due to the coronavirus crisis, according to a new report out today.

The study revealed that 52 per cent of UK employers will look to furlough their staff. Picture: John Devlin.

The new joint survey from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people-management, and People Management magazine, questioned 300 HR professionals – and found that 15 per cent of employers expect to lose up to a tenth of the workforce, while 9 per cent expect to lose between 11 and 49 per cent. The remaining two-thirds expect no change to headcount.

The study also revealed that 52 per cent of UK employers will look to furlough their staff, while about a fifth have asked staff who are not classed as essential workers to still attend their place of work.

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However, it was also revealed that many employers have found the UK government’s classification of essential and key workers confusing. More than a quarter said they found guidance either not very or not at all clear. The CIPD is asking employers to look at all options available to them before making redundancies to help protect employees’ livelihoods and the future of their businesses.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: “This survey shows that many businesses are already considering redundancies, rather than utilising the government’s Job Retention Scheme during the coronavirus crisis. Making redundancies should be a last resort once all other options for reducing workforce costs have been taken.”

He added: “Organisations that are most successful in protecting jobs and supporting their employees will also be those that are most resilient and best able to recover once this crisis is past.”

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