Helping the recruitment sector prepare for the ‘new normal’

As the UK enters its second month of a complete lockdown, many organisations are starting to think about the steps they can take now to get their recruitment agency in best shape for when the country returns to ‘normal’ (whatever that will look like).

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has been a valuable source of information for Evertime and having listened to their Talking Recruitment webinar today (29.4.2020) we were very impressed at the amount of work they have been doing to support recruitment agencies during the Coronavirus crisis.

Neil Carberry, the chief executive of the REC, and his colleagues are liaising directly with the team at No 10 and the Treasury on a daily basis and they have been resolute in their need to have very clear guidance for their members. Although schemes have been put in place to get cash out to businesses who need it as quickly as possible, the guidance needs to be in place so that recruitment agencies aren’t audited in 3-4 years by the Treasury and required to pay back large sums of money.  The REC has done a great deal of lobbying to the government about the recruitment sector’s needs and they feel that the understanding of the recruitment sector by the government is at the highest level ever.

The REC asked for four things to help the recruitment sector to get back on its feet:

  1. Focus on cashflow
  2. Fund Statutory Sick Pay for Workers
  3. Help recruiters to help critical sectors
  4. Help people to find work quickly and safely

The REC talks about the fact that we are now in a government-enforced recession, which has been created for valid public health reasons.  For that reason, they have been very supportive of the government’s decision to delay IR35 until 2021, but they predict that chancellor Rishi Sunak will want to review how the self-employed are taxed, especially given the comments he has made about the support available for directors of limited companies.

We don’t want to publish information or guidance on the Evertime blog because the situation evolves and changes on a daily basis, however, would urge you to look at the official sources.  You might want to head over to the REC website to find out more about:

  • Temporary measures put in place around DBS checks, Right to Work and face to face interviews
  • Business rate exemption for employment agencies (not initially included)
  • Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority granting temporary licensing
  • Clarity on JRS functions for agencies

The REC team spoke on the webinar about the various options available to help businesses including:

  • Deferral of VAT payments until 30 June
  • Guidance around Statutory Sick Pay
  • Job Retention Scheme (Furlough)
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. There are 40 providers available and the REC suggests you visit the British Business Bank website for more advice. There are different types of loans available, so it’s worth doing research about the options that are available.
  • British Business bank also has a section on their website for large businesses. The REC guidance suggests that if you have applied for help before, but were turned down, it’s worth trying again because some people have been successful when applying a second time.
  • There is an option to apply for more than one of the schemes available. You will obviously need to be certain that you qualify (which is why the REC has been calling for clear guidance).
  • Coronavirus Bounce Back loans are available so that SMEs can borrow up to £50,000.
  • If you are exempt for paying small business rates, you can apply for a grant via your local authority.
  • Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) is also available.

The advice is being updated regularly as the situation evolves, and the REC’s view is that the government will apply monthly extensions to the various schemes, so it is worth keeping up to date with the help that is available.

We would highly recommend tuning in to these webinars, especially as it was accessible to non-REC members as well. The next Talking Recruitment webinar is on 19 June and you can book future webinars here. If you want a copy of the slides, please email and we can get a copy sent over for you.