COVID-19: UK sees largest annual rise in redundancies in a decade

News Article

The UK has experienced the largest annual rise in redundancies since 2009, with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic being felt by many employers.

Redundancies increased to 227,000 in the period between June and August, an increase of 113,000 on the same period in 2019, according to the Labour Force Survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This increase is the largest since the period between April and June 2009, with unemployment figures reaching 4.5 per cent at the end of August, rising from 4.1 per cent in May.

Despite this, estimates from September have indicated some signs of recovery, with 20,000 more employees on company payrolls than in August, according to data submitted to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). However, the number of people employed by UK firms has fallen by 673,000 since March.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said: “The data underpins the importance of getting the winter right economically. Making sure we support demand in the economy and people unable to work should be our priority.

“This means supporting temporary workers affected by local lockdowns and looking at how to support all the businesses in the affected supply chains that stand to lose out.”

Several businesses have warned of insolvency risk in the past week, with Edinburgh Woollen Mill group warning of 24,000 job losses, while many employers have admitted that they are considering redundancies before the end of the year.

Samantha Randall, an Employment Law expert at Palmers, said: “The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that more employers are considering the difficult decision of redundancy to protect their business.

“Employers need to outline a fair selection process and adhere to their redundancy obligations, and must seek specialist advice if they require help.”

For help and advice on matters relating to Employment Law and the redundancy procedure, contact our expert team today.

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