Citizens advice report: An unequal crisis

Citizens Advice has released a report into the current crisis for those going through redundancy during the pandemic. Data showed that support is not at an adequate level and many are being treated unequally.

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This week the UK entered its deepest recession for 100 years. In addition, with nearly 750,000 jobs gone as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, we're also heading towards the largest unemployment crisis we've seen for decades. 

Citizens Advice, is a network of 316 independent UK charities that provide support and advice to those who need it around money, legal and consumer problems. 

In a report issued this week, the organisation believes that 1 in 6 (17%) of the working population are facing redundancy. However, whilst most employers have the intention to do the right thing, the organisation has cause for concern about employers who do not. 

The report looked at three key areas of employment rights in the redundancy process where Citizens Advice is concerned: fair redundancy processes, automatically unfair reasons for redundancy, and discrimination. They found that despite employers willing to help make this process easier, needs are not being met adequately. 

The report found that:

  • 1 in 4 disabled people (27%) are facing redundancy, rising to 37% for those people whose disability has a substantial impact on their activities
  • 1 in 2 people who are extremely clinically vulnerable to coronavirus (48%) are facing redundancy
  • 2 in 5 people with caring responsibilities (39%), either for children or vulnerable adults, are facing redundancy
  • 3 in 10 people with children under 18 (31%) are facing redundancy, compared to less than 1 in 10 (7%) of those who don’t have children under 18.

Citizens Advice has seen a 370% increase in demand from their clients who they are providing support to for issues with selection for redundancy. Demand for their advice pages on fair redundancy processes has increased by over four times. Discrimination is of particular concern during the pandemic, with people with disabilities or those that are pregnant, feeling they are more likely to be made redundant due to prioritized health needs in the workplace. 

Separately, here at simply, one area we are following closely is around the digital divide and the impact that the rise in virtual/ remote working has on those who have access to the 'right' technologies and those who do not. We'll be exploring research in this area in more detail in early 2021. 

To read the Citizens Advice report, click here.

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