Interviews, handshakes and sick pay: COVID fallout | Recruitment News UK

Dropped interviews, the end of the deal-making handshake, and sick pay confusion. These are just some of the consequences of COVID in the recruitment industry.

The impact of COVID-19 – the Coronavirus – is being felt across the globe. But what affect is the epidemic having on an industry that is as reliant on social interactions as the recruiting sector?

From reducing human contact to disputes over quarantine and sick pay, eBoss brings you a round-up of the COVID fallout as it is being felt across our sector.

COVID and sick pay – who is owed what?

One of the most contentious issues concerning COVID for the recruitment industry to wrap its head around is – what are the pay entitlements?

The nature of the epidemic has lead to many health authorities issuing self-isolation notices. Essentially, suspected cases are instructed to quarantine themselves at home. If you are working within a zero-hours contract, what are you owed in lost wages? If your employer does not provide remote-working facilities, are suspected cases required to spend days of annual sick leave – even if they are not currently ill?
The problem becomes more complex among unsecured workers in countries with little to no social support. The expectation is that many cases will continue to work, even though they carry the infection.

The complex issue has led to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) writing to the Health Secretary for clarification.

“we have written to health secretary Matt Hancock, calling on him to create a mitigation fund to support self-employed people who lose income because of the coronavirus outbreak.”

IPSE also asked the government to publish specific guidance for freelancers.

Changing the workplace routine

Some recruiters are even going so far as to dodge the deal-making handshake, Recruiter reports.

Bev White, CEO at the Harvey Nash Group, told Recruiter that her agency had placed ‘Don’t feel the need to shake hands’ signs at their reception desk. The business owner says that it is having unexpectedly positive results. “Removing the handshake and replacing it with a quick chat has injected more warmth and presence into the conversation.”

“We are keeping a very close watch on COVID-19. If its upward trajectory continues, then I can see us becoming more proactive. Our recent move of our IT infrastructure to the cloud has meant home working is an option for many people.”

• RELATED READING: Recruitment software for agile groups and decentralised working.

Interview panic

Meanwhile, Business Insider revealed last week that Amazon will start hiring via video interviews, over contamination fears. An internal email sent to candidates which was shown to Business Insider said: “we are not to bring any candidates onsite in person for interviews due to coronavirus concerns.” Instead, video calls will be used to fill some positions within the global brand.

COVID: Global impact

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread across the world in a relatively short space of time. Many organisations in the public and private sector are taking steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection to individuals. Travel bans, remote and decentralised work, as well as the cancellation of events and conferences have all been announced in response to the epidemic.

But what has been the real impact of COVID-19 on world health? The following data is accurate at time of writing (March 5th, 2020):

• Total number of cases:

• Fatalities:

• Cases Still Active:
39,074 including:
32,653 (84%) in Mild Condition
6,421 (16%) Serious or Critical

The country with the single greatest number of cases is – by some margin – China. There have been 80,430 COVID cases in China; 25,186 of which are still active today.

South Korea is the country with the next highest number of cases confirmed, at 5,766. 91 per cent of all fatal cases of COVID-19 (3,013) occurred within China.

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