Uncovering hugely consequential, topical data, HeadOn PR brought Crossland Employment Solicitors to the forefront of the national and regional media with a report that had a widespread public impact and reinforced the law firm’s position as leading authorities on employment matters.
Crossland Employment Solicitors is a leading law firm, specialising in employment law, and recognised by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 as experts in their field. Their clients range from small to medium-sized businesses, as well as FTSE 100 clients across almost every sector, including charities and schools.
As retained clients of HeadOn PR, a leading Cheltenham PR firm, we aim to keep Crossland Employment Solicitors at the forefront of current, industry-relevant issues, establishing them as thought leaders in their field. With their primary target audiences being in the accounting, business, HR and law sectors, we look to build their brand awareness across these fields, on both a national and regional level.
During the challenging period of the COVID-19 lockdown, concerns were brought to Crossland Employment Solicitor’s attention regarding individuals being asked to work while on furlough – the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where the UK government paid 80% of employees’ wages to avoid redundancies of those whose services were not currently required. After receiving anecdotal evidence of this activity, it was clear that there was an impactful story to uncover. HeadOn PR advised on a media strategy and commissioned an independent research study of 2,000 furloughed employees from individual organisations across the following sectors:
· Manufacturing & Construction
· IT & Tech
· Accounting & Finance
· Marketing, PR & Advertising
As a hot topic, the study and subsequent PR needed a quick turnaround to get ahead of competitors, who were likely to be aware of the same issues. With a short, snappy poll, we uncovered the data needed and used our media contacts to launch the story, secure coverage and manage interviews.
The data unearthed for Crossland Employment Solicitors showed a staggering 34% of UK bosses were trying to cash in by asking employees to work when furloughed.
A third of individuals were asked to carry on with their usual job. Meanwhile, 29% were told to undertake more administrative tasks, and one in five asked to either cover someone else’s responsibilities or to work for a company linked to their employer while on furlough.
Shockingly, the data revealed investment companies trying to use the scheme as an alternative to performance management – if an employee wasn’t hitting a target, they were furloughed or threatened with furlough. In professional services, those employees on a work permit were threatened with dismissal or being asked to leave the country if they did not continue to work.
Employers undertaking these actions could potentially face hefty fines or even a prison sentence.
Across the coverage, Beverley Sunderland, Managing Director of Crossland Employment Solicitors, provided insight into the data revealed, as well as advice on what the rules were and the potential penalties faced if they were ignored.