What’s in store for HR in 2021?
The year 2020 was, for many, one of immense uncertainty and hardship. As the effects of Covid-19 emerged and then continued to unravel, both businesses and their staff were forced to grapple with huge logistical, financial and emotional challenges – while keeping up to speed with evolving Government guidance and restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus and providing financial support – and sadly those difficulties are not yet past.
Although vaccines are now being rolled out across the UK, 2021 (the first part, at least) looks set to be as hard as, if not harder than, 2020, with England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all now under some form of lockdown (although the precise rules differ across each of the four nations). In his televised briefing on 4 January, the Prime Minister instructed everyone in England to stay at home (save for limited exceptions – see the 'National lockdown: Stay at Home' guidance) and warned that the coming weeks would be the ‘hardest yet’. Under the new rules in England, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable have once again been advised to ‘shield’ and schools have closed to most pupils, placing significant strain on working parents, as they seek to juggle the competing demands of home and work.
The Government has stated that England's current rules will be reviewed on 15 February; Scotland's will be reviewed at the end of January; the Welsh Government is expected to make an announcement about the anticipated duration of the lockdown there on Friday (although the First Minister has warned that the restrictions are likely to remain in place for the rest of January); and in Northern Ireland, the lockdown rules are to be reviewed in late January.
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