The Coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented levels of devastation to workers and businesses around the world.
In addition to taking the lives of over 1.1 million globally, millions of workers have lost jobs and contracts, been placed on furlough or seen their pay packets dramatically reduced. The Aerospace & Aviation and Formula One and Automotive industries have been hit particularly badly: airlines have gone into administration and manufacturing has been significantly delayed or completely ceased, causing further job losses and drops in revenue.
Through the past seven months VHR’s team have been navigating our way through the situation as it progresses around the world, and communicating with our clients and candidates to find out how we can best support them.
Since February 2020, ahead of the majority of European and global lockdowns, VHR have provided regular guidance and communication to our clients and contractors on:
VHR have introduced our Engineer Locator Form (ELF). With various travel restrictions across the globe VHR are here to help, pairing up a variety of technical jobs with engineers in over 56 countries.
When speaking with contractors we have found a common problem that keeps occurring is that they are stuck in countries, when their contract work has ended, or they have been let go early, and are unable to get home due to the various travel restrictions and quarantines.
When talking to clients, we also found a similar problem. They struggle to get the workers into these locations to fill the positions.
‘The Engineer Locator Form’ is a form that engineers need to fill out, providing their job title, cv & location and then our recruitment specialists match it with the various roles our clients are struggling to place.
Various lockdown measures have resulted in barriers across the UAE, leaving workers unable to travel between the Emirates by plane or car. Businesses in all industries have experienced delays to maintenance and production projects, and expats and migrant workers have often been unable to return to their place of employment or home countries following the end of their contracts.
VHR’s in-country teams have been working from our UAE offices and on-site bases to best support our clients and candidates across the Middle East. We have provided flexible services to transport workers to and from Abu Dhabi and Dubai where necessary, safely and compliantly, and recruited additional essential workers to ensure projects continue to run and help workers continue to receive paid employment.
Migrant workers in the UAE are often accountable to visas and work permit requirements for the ability to remain in their chosen employment or homes. In several situations where our contractors have been left without work or had their contracts cancelled, VHR have helped our candidates maintain their visas to guarantee their residency and best support them in getting back into employment following the end of lockdown.
Our recruitment specialists have also provided constant Health & Safety support for essential workers on the front lines of business and projects. Our teams have rigorously checked working environments including construction sites to ensure sites are secure, Covid-19 guidelines are being followed and workers have been provided with all necessary Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).,
Italy was initially one of the most badly affected countries and endured a strict country-wide lockdown ahead of all other European locations. Over 100 VHR contractors were working in Italy at that time.
VHR worked closely with our Italy-based Automotive client to provide free accommodation to contractors who were unable to leave the country or continue with their contract duties, ensuring the availability of staff as soon as projects were allowed to continue and protecting the livelihoods of contractors.
Since March 2020 over 8million employees have been placed on furlough under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Varying methods of furlough pay calculation has meant many umbrella and recruiter partnerships incorrectly calculated take home pay for 60,000 UK contractors, including who received just over minimum wage.
VHR’s close partnership with leading payroll provider Generate has ensured that all our contractors received correct take home pay. In April 2020 Generate were only the second payroll provider in Britain to secure maximum salary payments for contractors. The Generate and VHR teams worked collaboratively to prioritise candidate care throughout the pandemic, ensuring that all our UK contractors are receiving the maximum available pay, regardless of their furlough status.
With 17 years’ experience providing bespoke recruitment and workforce management solutions, VHR are now responding to the global need to protect workers by providing versatile workplace social distancing equipment.
The social distancing equipment is suitable for use in airports, retail spaces, construction sites, factories, offices and call centres. VHR’s social distancing equipment has also been installed in call centres for banks and ambulance services, council reception desks, hair salons, vets and GP surgeries and 23 police stations.
We recognise that businesses and individuals are currently experiencing monumental difficulties of all kinds – we are proud to continue to go the extra mile for our business and contractor communities, and welcome any further requests and ideas for additional support going forward.
Is your workforce going back to work? Find out how to protect and support them.