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Employment Law Changes for 2022

Employment Law Changes 2022

Thursday, January 13, 2022

It’s an understatement to say it’s been something of a rollercoaster ride for business owners and HR professionals over the past two years. As if you needed reminding…

March 2020, we entered unknown territory with new restrictions and our first lockdown experience. I’m sure many of us expected it all to be over by the Summer, certainly Christmas but the Delta variant and peaks of infection saw us remain in a state of lockdown as we entered 2021. Last year we discovered that rather than Covid being a short-lived annoyance it had become a factor that we simply had to manage both at work and at home which for many had become one and the same location.

As for 2022 what can we expect? More variants? More jabs? Or a gradual return to life as we knew it before the pandemic? We don’t have a crystal ball or a DeLorean handy, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile there are a few events that we can predict for 2022.

Statutory Payments

The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) are proposing the following:

  • SSP (Statutory sick pay) £99.35 per week.
  • Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental pay together with maternity allowance £156.66 per week.

NMW (National Minimum Wage), NLW (National Living Wage)

From 1 April 2022, the NLW for workers aged 23 and over will rise from £8.91 to £9.50. NMW rates will also rise as follows:

  • 21 – 22 years old: £9.18.
  • 18 – 20 years old: £6.83.
  • 16 – 17 years old: £4.81.
  • Apprentice rate: £4.81.
  • Accommodation offset: £8.70.

NICs (National Insurance Contributions)

NICs will rise by 1.25% for most workers from 6 April 2022

Employment Bill

The next stage for this Bill, second reading, is scheduled to take place on Friday 18 March 2022. This is a Private Members’ Bill and was presented to Parliament on Monday 21 June 2021.

Make provision about the rights of workers, including to negotiate pay and join trade unions and employee associations; to amend the definition of worker; to make provision about the employment rights of members of the armed forces; to make provision about employee representatives on company boards; and for connected purposes.

The Bill also proposes specific reforms that include:

  • Making flexible working the default position
  • A labour market enforcement agency, enforcing rights for vulnerable workers
  • Tips to be passed on directly to employees not retained by their employer.
  • Carers to be permitted to take one week of unpaid statutory leave each year
  • Parents ability to take statutory leave of up to 12 weeks for neonatal care
  • The right to request a formal and supportive contract after 26 weeks’ service.

Mandatory vaccination

April 2022 will see the implementation of mandatory vaccinations for frontline healthcare professionals, (unless they are exempt). NB There is a Judicial Review pending which questions the introduction of such legislation.

Right-to-work checks

The Home Office’s lite touch right-to-work checks regime (introduced due to COVID-19) is due to end and revert to the previous full right to work checks, referring to previous forms, after 5 April 2022.

Pay Gap Reporting

Gender – Those employing 250+ staff must publish an annual report on their gender pay gap.

  • Public sector by 30th March 2022
  • Private sector by 4th April 2022
  • Charities / Voluntary Organisations by 4th April 2022 •

Ethnicity – Response to the 2018 consultation on ethnicity pay gap reporting remains outstanding.

Sexual harassment in the workplace

A mandatory duty on employers will mean they will have to protect staff from sexual harassment. It will introduce explicit protections from third-party harassment e.g. from clients, suppliers and contractors. Consideration is also likely toward extending time limits for bringing discrimination claims from three months to six months. No firm dates as yet but draft legislation is anticipated this year.

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