Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021

HR Round Up Sept 2021

Employers struggling to recruit ‘post pandemic’

Just over one in 10 (11 per cent) workers who are on furlough or not working are looking for a job, according to new research, potentially spelling trouble for those employers struggling to recruit in the wake of the pandemic.

A survey by Indeed has found that more than half (56 per cent) of people out of work are not actively seeking a new job, including two-fifths (41 per cent) of those on furlough. Among all workers, 71 per cent said they weren’t looking because they expected to return to their pre-pandemic job, and a third plan to hold off

Just under a third (30 per cent) of unemployed people who weren’t urgently looking for work said they have a financial cushion, while almost a fifth (17 per cent) said they could manage because their spouse or partner is still employed. A sixth said their reason for not looking for work was due to Covid-19 fears. 

Among those on furlough, 12 per cent said they were not comfortable with returning to work in person. According to Indeed, the findings suggested that the lack of urgency among jobseekers to find a new role may be contributing to employers struggling to fill vacancies. This is despite the unemployment rate falling to 4.7 per cent and the number of job postings exceeding pre- 

Jack Kennedy, UK economist at Indeed, said with many employers “desperate for staff”, a significant proportion of the workforce appeared to be “surprisingly relaxed” about finding work despite the end of the furlough scheme looming.

“Most are feeling optimistic about returning to their workplace and so are in no rush to find a new job,” he added, but warned that with almost two million people still on the coronavirus job retention scheme, “some may soon learn they will not be going back and will therefore need to start actively searching”.

“The financial cushions enjoyed by some unemployed workers will also eventually erode, and will create a greater sense of urgency among those currently out of work but still happy to sit on the side lines,” Kennedy said.

The main aim of the job retention scheme was to do just that – retain jobs for those firms that are still being impacted by the pandemic, so the hope would be that these organisations welcome their staff back, and this is likely to be the main driving force behind so few furloughed individuals actively job hunting.

Data Protection: Commission adopts adequacy decisions for the UK

The European Commission has adopted two adequacy decisions for the United Kingdom - one under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the other for the Law Enforcement Directive. Personal data can now flow freely from the European Union to the United Kingdom where it benefits from an essentially equivalent level of protection to that guaranteed under EU law. The adequacy decisions also facilitate the correct implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which foresees the exchange of personal information, for example for cooperation on judicial matters. Both adequacy decisions include strong safeguards in case of future divergence such as a ‘sunset clause', which limits the duration of adequacy to four years. 

Key elements of the adequacy decisions

The UK's data protection system continues to be based on the same rules that were applicable when the UK was a Member State of the EU. The UK has fully incorporated the principles, rights and obligations of the GDPR and the Law Enforcement Directive into its post-Brexit legal system.

With respect to access to personal data by public authorities in the UK, notably for national security reasons, the UK system provides for strong safeguards. In particular, the collection of data by intelligence authorities is, in principle, subject to prior authorisation by an independent judicial body. Any measure needs to be necessary and proportionate to what it intends to achieve. Any person who believes they have been the subject of unlawful surveillance may bring an action before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. The UK is also subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights and it must adhere to the European Convention of Human Rights as well as to the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, which is the only binding international treaty in the area of data protection. These international commitments are an essential elements of the legal framework assessed in the two adequacy decisions.

For the first time, the adequacy decisions include a so-called ‘sunset clause', which strictly limits their duration. This means that the decisions will automatically expire four years after their entry into force. After that period, the adequacy findings might be renewed, however, only if the UK continues to ensure an adequate level of data protection. During these four years, the Commission will continue to monitor the legal situation in the UK and could intervene at any point, if the UK deviates from the level of protection currently in place. Should the Commission decide to renew the adequacy finding, the adoption process would start again.

Transfers for the purposes of UK immigration control are excluded from the scope of the adequacy decision adopted under the GDPR in order to reflect a recent judgment of the England and Wales Court of Appeal on the validity and interpretation of certain restrictions of data protection rights in this area. The Commission will reassess the need for this exclusion once the situation has been remedied under UK law.

Pam Watson Greig Melville HR
Human Resources

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