Thousands of key workers could be disadvantaged because of the risk of falling ill or self-isolation and its impact on the provision for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), a professional body has warned.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with less than 250 staff can be reimbursed for SSP if their staff cannot work due to COVID-19. However, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said this means most SME recruitment businesses supplying temporary workers are ineligible for the rebate because, while they are SMEs, they are responsible for placing many more temporary staff in other businesses. These include sectors that are vital to the economy right now such as logistics, education and care, where staff may not simply be able to work from home.
The body said that creating opportunities for temporary workers in a pandemic is a “big financial risk for small recruiters who could face a huge SSP bill if their temps are required to self-isolate”. It said this means potentially fewer work opportunities are being created for temps just as businesses need them.
As part of a six-step plan for business recovery published today, the REC is calling on government to ensure no one is left behind by funding SSP support for every worker.
Neil Carberry, REC chief executive, said: "This support is needed now to get businesses and workers through the pandemic. Our six-step plan outlines exactly what needs to happen next to lay the foundations of the recovery, including incentivising job creation and retention by reviewing the tax system including IR35, reducing employers National Insurance contributions and working with the recruitment industry to support people who have lost jobs to transition into new, growing Industries."