Employment Law changes in 2022
2021 was, arguably, the year of reactivity, to constantly stay up to date and comply with the government’s ever-changing rules and regulations. However, this year, employers are in a much better position to plan for what’s coming and be pro-active in assessing the impacts proposed changes may have on organisations.
A new Employment Bill was initially announced in 2019, which focused on providing new family-related leave and pay entitlement. The Covid pandemic has pushed back further developments on this, but a follow up and passing of the Bill is expected in 2022. Included within the proposed measures is the introduction of statutory neonatal leave and pay for parents of babies requiring neonatal care. It is likely the eligibility and pay entitlements will largely follow what is in place for other statutory leave, e.g. maternity/paternity etc.
Similarly, the Bill proposed the extension of the redundancy protection period for employees on maternity leave to up to six months after they return to work. The government has also confirmed its intention to introduce carer’s leave as a new statutory employment right. This will entitle employees with caring responsibilities to take up to one week of unpaid leave per year and be a day-one right for all.
New National Minimum Wage rates have been confirmed for April 2022 as follows:
- 23+ year olds = £9.50
- 21-22 year olds = £9.18
- 18-20 year olds = £6.83
- 16-17 year-olds = £4.81
- Apprentices = £4.81.
Similarly, the rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement pay will increase from £151.97 per week to £156.66 per week.
The rate of statutory sick pay will increase from £96.35 per week to £99.35 per week. However, the lower earnings limit which employees must meet to be eligible for these payments, is also increasing from £120 to £123 per week.
April 2022 will be a busy month with changes to right to work checks (including a new permanent technology for completing digital checks) and the deadline date for publishing gender pay gap reports also happening.
To commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, there will be changes to bank holidays in 2022. The late May bank holiday which normally would have fallen on Monday 30th May 2022 will be moved to Thursday 2nd June 2022 and there will be an additional bank holiday on Friday 3rd June 2022. Employers should check the wording of employees’ contracts to understand their obligations; there won’t be the automatic right to the additional day, or to time off on fixed bank holidays. Instead, employers may be able to ask employees to work on 3 June 2022, but give them the day off at a different time in the year.
The outcome of the Harpur Trust v Brazel case may even see a change to the way holidays are calculated for those who don’t work full-time. The Supreme court heard the appeal of the case and are still deliberating an outcome – this is expected in 2022. We await its judgement to understand whether a worker’s right to paid holiday is accumulated according to their working pattern and/or is pro-rated.
Staff within hospitality settings are set to keep 100% of the tips they receive from customers, under new laws to stop employers keeping service charges when paying by card. The new Statutory Code of Practice, when released, will provide information to help businesses better understand how tips should be distributed to ensure fairness and transparency.
In July 2021, the government published it’s long-awaited response to the public consultation into sexual harassment in the workplace. Following this, changes to related laws are expected in 2022, including an extension to the time period employees have for raising tribunal claims and enhanced protection against harassment from third parties. Employers should be prepared to undertake training and update their policies accordingly.