Since the Coronavirus Pandemic businesses have been thrown into the new way of working, dealing with isolation for employees, furlough, and trying to manage the potential lockdown, all whilst continuing to deal with workplace issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, Employment Law doesn’t stand still for anyone, so we wanted to make you aware of the hot topics of HR and Employment Law in 2022:
Coronavirus Pandemic Vaccination rollout encouraging employees to be vaccinated:
As the new Omicron variant continues to surge the encouragement from employers to get employees vaccinated and to have their boosters is an important step that employers can take to reduce the risk to employee’s health. This would include perhaps sending a letter out to your employees encouraging them to get their vaccination and have their booster. You could also name nearby sites in which they can walk in and get vaccinated. If it is possible within your business, being flexible to allow them to nip out and receive their vaccination or booster would be a massive step you can take towards making your workplace Covid safe.
Minimum Wage increases
From 1st April 2022 organisations must comply with the National Minimum Wage increases. The hourly rate of the minimum wage increases will increase from:
- £8.91 to £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over (the national living wage)
- £8.36 to £9.18 for workers aged 21 or 22
- £6.56 to £6.83 for workers aged 18 to 20
- £4.62 to £4.81 for workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age, and
- £4.30 to £4.81 for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of the apprenticeship.
It is really important that employers check their pay rates against the forthcoming minimum wage rates and ensuring where necessary they increase remuneration for the first pay reference period that is beginning 1st April 2022. You can find out more at: Gov.UK’s Minimum Wage Rates for 2022
Proposed Statutory Increase to Family Friendly related pay and Sick Pay
The rate for statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental bereavement pay has been proposed to increase from £151.97 up to £156.66. In addition, it is expected that SSP will also increase. These increases are due to take place in April 2022.
Keep track of temporary UK Right to Work Checks
From 30 March 2020, the Government announced temporary changes to UK Right to Work checks, allowing employers to conduct checks without seeing the individuals face to face. This means that checks can be carried out via video and scanned or photo versions of the original UK Right to Work documents.
These temporary changes are due to last only until 5 April 2022. Look out for further changes regarding new guidance on the UK Right to Work checks from the 6 April 2022. It is possible that the temporary guidance maybe extended.
Changes to Statutory Redundancy Pay
It is proposed that new limits on employment statutory redundancy pay will come into force on the 6 April 2022. Employers that terminate employees for the reason of redundancy must pay those with two years’ service or more an amount based on the employees weekly pay, length of service and age. The new amount will be confirmed in the draft Employment Rights Order 2022, which will be published some time in February. For termination due to redundancy the payments must be calculated on the new maximum amounts for redundancies on or after the 6 April 2022.
Managing the Bank Holiday Entitlement during the Platinum Jubilee
Friday 3 June 2022 has been announced as an additional Bank Holiday to celebrate to Queens Jubilee. In addition, the late May Bank Holiday has been moved to Thursday 2 June 2022.
This can cause quite the confusion for employers and will need to be planned well in advance. It will largely depend on how employment contracts are worded, even if the employer is not contractually obliged to grant an extra day annual leave, employers may choose to do so as a gesture of goodwill to employees.
Potential changes to Flexible Working Requests
In current legislation, to apply for flexible working you must have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks before making a request for flexible working arrangements. For further information on what a Flexible working request is and how to deal with it, please visit out latest news post on Flexible Working.
A proposal is in place to allow employees to apply for flexible working from day one of their employment as opposed to waiting until at least 26 weeks.
A timeline is yet to be confirmed as to when this change will happen.
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