By Daniel Hunter
Public sector workers may not have to lose their jobs in the wake of a new language policy to be introduced in September, according to employee benefits firm Busy Bees Benefits.
The company, which specialises in employee benefit schemes, says that members of staff could be given more time to improve their English language skills by learning on the job.
The new legislation states that employees in customer-facing roles must hold English language skills equivalent to GCSE grade C or above. This will affect police officers, social workers, teachers, teaching assistants, Jobcentre Plus workers and council employees as well as employees in the NHS and Armed Forces.
Among these workers will be those who have worked in the sector for years and have proved their worth since the day they were appointed. These employees could be offered the time to improve, but whether they can afford further training is another matter. The cost of qualifications are often expensive, employees will need to access savings on the cost of this new requirement.
“Public sector employers should help their staff save money on the cost of GCSE English [by using on the job training schemes,” said Busy Bees Benefits' co-founder John Woodward.
“The real barrier for employees is the cost of the qualification. It’s all good and well offering time, but if employees simply can’t afford the cost of training, they may be left in a sticky situation.
“In the current climate of austerity, it is difficult for public sector organisations to fund their employees taking this qualification."
The new legislation is set to commence from September and is said to be rolled out across England, Scotland and Wales, however details on the plans for Scotland and Wales are yet to be confirmed.