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New hires ‘will pay their way’

An employment specialist has highlighted how employers need to work with new hires as they go through the challenges of the current coronavirus crisis.

Oliver McCann, employment partner at Napthens, warned employers not to make ‘rash decisions’ in the current climate and to find a way of solving the problems to be in a position of strength when business restrictions are lifted.

He said: “Finding and retaining top talent is not easy and given the current climate is likely to be even more difficult. The candidate was hired for a reason – the business needs their skills. There is a common goal here and both candidate and employer have challenges.

“The fact is the business selected them as the best candidate and this is their opportunity to take positive steps to show loyalty to their new recruit and build their employer brand as a supportive employer.

“As such, consider the potential range of solutions that could work. On the assumption the new hire’s job can also be performed at home, there is no reason why the new hire cannot start employment as planned. Both employer and employee need to accept that the usual procedures for onboarding and induction will need to be flexed and delivered in a different way.”

Currently, government guidance suggests that anyone starting employment on or after March 1st 2020 would not be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Alternative options to address the challenges either the employer or new hire have, may include agreeing a temporary reduced salary, with or without a temporary reduction in hours, agreeing a deferral of part salary for the first few months, and to be repaid in instalments thereafter or delaying the start date by agreement

Oliver said employers need to put in extra effort in onboarding new staff during these times. He said regular video calls even using mobile phones are constructive and the added dimension of seeing people face to face can work in a more personal way than a phone call.

He added that all the Health and Safety and compliance issues that need to be part of an induction can be done via e-learning and online training.