More than 180,000 employees have been laid off by major British employers since the beginning of lockdown in March. Recent studies by the Institute for Employment Studies show that about 380,000 layoffs were planned from May to July this year. Due to sudden imposition of social distancing measures, the UK economy came to a standstill, while the employees were forced to work from home. As a result, many small and medium scale businesses thought of reducing their work forces as the employees seemed redundant. The employers in England, Scotland and Wales notifying the Insolvency Service; if they make 20 or more what is redundant in any single establishment through the HR1 form. However, recent trends show that the employers had listed more than 380,000 positions at risk between May and July 2020.
The IES started analysing and collecting data which has now dated back as far as 2008. The report clearly shows a doubling in the number of planned layoffs from the previous high of 180,00 from January to March 2009. Back in 2009 too, the financial crisis forced many employees to reduce their staff. The Director of IES, Tony Wilson said, “Comparing what is happening now with what was happening in the last recession shows us we are experiencing a jobs crisis unlike anything we have seen before.”
Measures being taken to provide maximum support
The IES is calling out for additional support from capable forms that can help the other businesses to retain their staff and also trained and advise those who are losing their jobs. A government spokesperson said, “Supporting jobs is an absolute priority which is why we’ve set out a comprehensive ‘Plan for Jobs’ to protect, create and support jobs across the UK by providing significant, targeted support where it is needed the most.” The government measures also include the kick start scheme of £2bn that will help employers to create new training placements and apprenticeship with a £1,000 incentive to bring back the staff force.
How successful will these planned redundancies be?
As the HR1 form does not include redundancies below 20, the final layoffs are expected to be much higher. The Office for National Statistics also released a redundancy count based on the Labour Force Survey that calculates the monthly unemployment rate. As the data is a few months old, there is still not a huge spike in unemployment. But the redundancy figures at 20% higher than HR1 figures in recent years. In these trends, there can be 445,000 job cuts between July and September, making it the worst peak in unemployment.