In your corner, 16 March 2023
Government and campaigns
After 17 months, we finally got a Budget! Unlike previous economic interventions, this was a substantial Budget focused on economic growth and measures to boost business investment. At the centre of the Budget was a focus on addressing labour shortages and tackling economic inactivity, which included support on childcare, measures to get over 50s into employment and a commitment to review the Shortages Occupation List (SOL) more regularly – a key REC policy recommendation.
However, there was very little on skills policy, and although action on “promoters of tax avoidance” was promised, we need to ensure umbrella company regulation is part of that. Similarly, some of the measures for the over 50s – like more mid-life MOTs and “returnerships”, a type of ‘accelerated apprenticeship’ aren’t likely to address the fundamental barriers that group faces in the workplace. This is where labour market experts – like REC members – can help and we’ll keep making that point to policy makers. In the meantime, you can Neil’s Budget response and our take on the Budget.
DfE meets REC members to discuss agency social workers
Last week, REC members involved in supplying temporary social workers met with Department for Education (DfE) officials in Westminster to discuss the proposed rules on the engagement of agency social workers in local authority children’s social care. The meeting provided an opportunity for officials to hear first-hand from REC members and ensure the voice of agency workers was represented. It also allowed members to address some misconceptions about the sector. DfE is looking for data on pay rates, labour market trends, and international recruitment. The REC is working to provide this data but if there’s anything you’d like to share, please email Yerin on Yerin.email@example.com The department is hosting two engagement sessions for anyone with interest in the consultation – you can register here.
REC Responds to Holiday Entitlement Consultation
Last week, we submitted our response to the government’s consultation on the calculation of holiday entitlement received by part-year and irregular hours workers. Our response built on member feedback, and reiterated the need for clarity around holiday entitlement that REC has previously campaigned for. We also called on the government to make clear the distinction between different classes of temporary worker for the purposes of calculating holiday pay. You can read the REC’s full response on our hub dedicated to the Harpur Trust case.
REC, CDEI and Cenitgy webinar on use of AI in recruitment
Later this month, REC will be hosting a webinar in partnership with Centigy and the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) around the use of AI in recruitment. This session will act as an introduction to the use of AI in this space, and offer advice and insight over how to use AI responsibly in recruitment and HR. This online event will be taking place on 28 March at 11am – please register to attend here.
The REC's latest Report on Jobs found that permanent placements across the UK fell for the fifth straight month in February due to economic uncertainty and candidate shortages. At the same time, temp billings continued to expand for the thirty-first successive month in February. Recruiters cited greater demand for temporary workers compared to permanent staff.
Look out for our upcoming JobsOutlook and Labour Market Tracker.
The REC team worked hard to get our views on the Budget out to the media. Our CEO Neil Carberry was on air with a variety of broadcasters on Budget Day, such as CNBC and Bloomberg – and our Deputy CEO Kate Shoesmith appeared on BBC News TV. We published two press releases on the Budget, welcoming the focus on employment but pointing out the Chancellor is headed in the wrong direction on skills. Separately, the media was interested in the REC backing the Department for Business and Trade's plan to lessen the unfairness and uncertainty in holiday pay rules after a binding law court judgment.
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