The advice team at Citizens Advice Winchester District dealt with almost three times the number of employment queries over the first 20 weeks of lockdown compared to the same time period last year. From 25 March to 12 August 2020, we dealt with 1,601 employment related queries compared to just over 600 for the same period in 2019.

Covid-19 has clearly had a huge impact on people’s employment situation with many employees being put on furlough, some facing redundancy and others simply not clear about their terms of employment or their rights with regards to working from home or returning to work. Overall, we’ve seen a big increase in the number of clients turning to us for support over the past six months, and although employment queries have reflected the biggest upturn in advice needs, the top issue has remained advice relating to benefits such as Universal Credit and tax credits.

Lesley Rose, our Advice Services Manager says “Clearly the lockdown measures imposed as a result of Covid-19 and the subsequent downturn in the economy is having an enormous impact locally and adding to the thousands of advice queries we would usually be helping people with throughout the year.

“When someone’s employment situation changes, this can also have a knock-on effect on other areas too such as housing, debt and benefits and many of our clients are needing our support with advice on a whole range of issues.”