The Impact of Covid-19 on Workers

You may have seen in the media over the last few months various articles referring to something called the “Great Resignation” or perhaps discussions about the changes in the employment habits of individuals in their 50’s and over during the pandemic. Various reports suggest that many workers aged 50 or over decided to leave their current employers during the pandemic. Is that true though?

It’s widely acknowledged that furlough and the impacts of the various Covid lockdowns on the workforce tended to hit younger workers harder than older workers. This is partially down to the heavy impact on industries that tend to employ more younger workers, such as catering and retail and also decisions about retention of workers with more experience when employers were forced to furlough employees or even make them redundant.

What happened with the over 50s?

One of the most interesting impacts that have come out of an analysis of Covid related employment trends is the impact on the over 50’s. According to Government statistics there was a decline in the number of those employed aged 50 to 64 years over the period December 2020 to February 2021, despite an increase in the population aged 50 years and over in this period.

This decline seems to be focused on those aged 50 to 54 years and 65 years and over. The fall in the number of self-employed aged 50 years and over was larger than the gain in the number of employees, leading to an overall seasonally adjusted net loss of 193,000 older workers in this age groups (down from 10.7 to 10.5 million).

Even though there are many stories in the media about over 50’s starting their own businesses during lockdown, the proportion of self-employed among older workers (50 years and over) fell by 2.0 per cent over the period to 19.4 per cent.

Why has that happened?

Why has this occurred? It’s partially from employers taking a look at their business structures during Covid-19 related stresses and looking at where they can make savings. It is also partially down to employees (particularly the over 50s) taking stock of their lifestyles and work lives, particularly where long commutes were involved, and coming to the conclusion that they want to work less hours, work remotely, do something else or actually just take early retirement.

As further analysis of the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 takes place, we think there will be some fascinating impacts exposed on the UK employment market as well as the residential property market, retail behaviour and how we live and interact with others overall.

If you are one of the over 50’s starting up a new business or negotiating term to leave your current employer, contact rhw for some useful legal advice. It may make a big difference!


rhw Solicitors in Guildford (logo)If you need some legal advice on employment law or any other aspect of personal or commercial law, please contact rhw on 01483 302000, email us  guildford@rhw.co.uk or you can fill in our contact form.