The number of people being advised to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app surpassed 689,313 during just one week in July.
But with that number continuing to rise, employers are becoming increasingly desperate to fill roles as a national staff shortage has led to an influx of jobs.
Over 1.1 million jobs currently need filling in the UK
Reports claim the app has not only influenced a mass staff shortage across many essential sectors, but potentially some of the worst supply shortages of essential food and drink since the pandemic first struck in March 2020. This is due to the volume of people being pinged to self-isolate – which the media have dubbed the ‘pingdemic’.
Employers asked for a change in the way the app works, with many requesting the app’s sensitivity be reduced. And, although a change in sensitivity was ruled out by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the latest app updates promise to reduce the number of businesses and employees effected, whilst continuing to protect the most vulnerable from the virus.
Latest changes to the NHS COVID-19 app
Previously, a positive test result would have prompted the app to go back through five days of data, advising any close contacts during that time to self-isolate. However, this latest update will mean that the app only collects data from two days prior to a positive test. Keeping the sensitivity of the app the same but reducing the number of days it looks at, will hopefully lead to fewer people being ‘pinged,’ and less disruption to those industries struggling the most.
Employers offering sign-up bonuses of up to £10k
Across retail, healthcare, haulage and logistics, employers are even offering generous one-off sign-up bonuses for new starters. Tesco and Asda are offering a £1,000 sign-up bonus for new HGV drivers, while healthcare specialists are getting even larger incentives, with some registered nurse positions coming with a hefty £10,000 sign-up bonus.
Of course, the qualifying terms around receiving the bonus will differ between positions, so it’s important to check with HR to find out what the terms are.
Will the app changes lead to improved employment rates?
Whilst it’s too soon to tell what the impact of the recent app changes will be, it’s certainly an encouraging step.
Further changes are set for the 16th August, which will see:
- Fully vaccinated people no longer being required to self-isolate if ‘pinged’. Instead, they will need to take a PCR test.
- Those who have not been fully vaccinated will still be required to self-isolate.
- Self-isolation remaining a legal obligation in the case of a positive covid test result.
If you are self-isolating as a result of being ‘pinged,’ make sure you find out what financial support you’re entitled to.
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