Employment law changes in 2022
The last two years have brought about plenty of changes in employment law. From furlough to hybrid working, there has been a lot for employers and employees alike to get their heads around.
With Covid-19 now in the rearview mirror (we hope), other employment law changes are coming our way from April 2022. In this blog, we look at how these affect business owners and their workforce.
Increase to the national minimum wage
The minimum wage will increase from 1st April 2022. This is welcome news for employees who are already feeling the pinch from higher energy bills, amongst other aspects of day-to-day life.
The hourly rates are as follows:
- National Living Wage (for those aged 23 and over): £9.50
- 21 – 22-year-old rate: £9.18
- 18 – 20-year-old rate: £6.83
- 16 – 17-year-old rate: £4.81
- Apprentice rate: £4.81
- Accommodation offset rate: £8.70
Employers should check that their employees’ hourly rates are updated accordingly and communicated.
A rise in the National Insurance threshold
As mentioned in our summary of the Spring Statement, the Government will increase the threshold for National Insurance. Workers will be able to earn £12,570 a year without paying any income tax, up from £9,800.
This increase is likely to impact around 70% of UK workers, so again, employers must ensure that payroll and payslips are updated to reflect this. However, the onus is on the employee to check their payslips.
Sick pay, redundancy payment and family related pay to increase
The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) increases from April 2022 from £96.35 to £99.35.
There are also changes to the statutory provisions, including statutory maternity and paternity pay, shared parental leave and adoption pay. The rates for these will increase from £151.97 to £156.66 as of 3rd April.
The maximum amount of a week’s pay for redundancy payments will also increase from £544 to £571.
Relaxation of right to work checks
During the coronavirus pandemic, right to work checks were relaxed so that employers only had to check original documents. This was supposed to change on 6th April, however, it has been extended to 30th September 2022, giving employers more time to ensure their pre-employment checks are up-to-date and that they have time to choose an identity service provider where required.
The Employment Bill
The long-awaited Employment Bill had a second reading in March 2022 and is set to come into effect this year. The key improvements include:
- The right to request flexible working from day one
- Establishing a single labour market enforcement agency that will be responsible for implementing basic rights for vulnerable workers
- Requiring employers to pass on all tips and service charges to their workers
- Extending redundancy protection for pregnant employees, those returning from maternity leave and those taking adoption or shared parental leave
- Giving carers the right to take one week of unpaid statutory leave per year
- A new right to 12 weeks’ statutory leave for parents with babies in neonatal care
- The introduction of a new proactive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and to reintroduce laws that make employers responsible if workers are harassed by third parties such as customers
The Employment Bill has already been delayed several times, but we hope to see these changes come into effect this year. We will update you as and when this happens. In the meantime, it is wise for employers to prepare for these changes to come into force; whether that’s drafting new contracts and policies or reviewing their recruitment processes.
Gender pay gap reporting
Gender pay gap reporting has been something that businesses have either embraced or buried their heads in the sand with in recent years. However, some employers are legally obliged to publish an annual gender pay gap report from 2018.
The report must outline any difference between male and female employees’ earnings, and the dates for completing these are:
- Public sector: 30th March 2022
- Private sector and voluntary organisations: 4th April 2022
The rules for gender pay gap reporting are set to be reviewed this year, and we could also see the introduction of ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting.