By Hannah Haywood, employment solicitor at Legal Futures Associate Bhayani HR & Employment Law
With the end of the financial year fast approaching, it brings with it a number of employment law updates. This could see a busy year for legal updates as a number of key legislative shifts are expected throughout 2022. It includes statutory pay increases, gender pay gap reporting deadlines and changes to the right to work checks.
The national minimum wage increase
The government has confirmed the increase in minimum wage from 1 April 2022. The hourly rates are as follows:
Employers should check their rates and if necessary, ensure there is an appropriate increase if necessary.
Other statutory increases – sick pay, redundancy payment and family related pay
The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) is increasing in April 2022 from £96.35 to £99.35
The capped weekly rate of a number of different statutory provisions is also changing which includes statutory maternity, paternity, shared parental leave and adoption pay. This is increasing from £151.97 to £156.66. These increases take effect on the first Sunday in April, which in 2022 is 3rd April.
The statutory redundancy maximum amount of a “weeks pay” for calculating a redundancy payment is also increasing from April 2022, from £544 to £571.
National Insurance threshold to rise
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has recently announced to the house of commons that the government will increase the threshold before people have to pay National Insurance from £9,800 to £12.570 to match Income Tax from July 2022. Sunak states this will cost £6bn in a “personal tax cut for 30 million people across the United Kingdom”.
This increase in the threshold to £3,000 is likely to impact around 70% of all UK workers.
Gender pay gap reporting
If you have 250 staff members or more, you legally have to publish an annual gender pay gap report from 2018. The gender pay gap reporting deadlines are expected to return to normal in 2022 after being paused in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The report should outline the differences between men and women’s earnings within the company. This is completed by a snapshot of your companies’ data on specific dates which are:
- For public sector employers, the 30 March 2022
- For private sector employers and voluntary organisations, the 4 April 2022
The rules which govern gender pay gap reporting are also set to be reviewed in 2022 which could see the introduction of standardised ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting.
Right to work checks
Due to COVID-19, the Home Office relaxed the need to check original documents only, for a right to work check so employers could then check remotely.
The temporary measure was supposed to expire on the 6th April 2022, but the government has extended this inclusively to 30 September 2022. This gives employers the chance to ensure they have sufficient time to change their pre-employment checking processes and have time to choose the right identity service provider if this is required.
The Employment Bill
The long-awaited Employment Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech in 2019, did not progress as originally expected in 2021. The Bill had a second reading on 18 March 2022 and is set to progress into law at some point within 2022.
The key reforms promised by the Employment Bill include:
- Making flexible working the default position.
- The establishment of a single labour market enforcement agency, responsible for enforcing basic rights for vulnerable workers.
- Requiring employers to pass on all tips and service charges to their workers.
- Extending redundancy protection, namely the right to be offered suitable alternative employment, to pregnant employees and for six months after the return from maternity leave, as well as to those taking adoption leave or shared parental leave.
- A new right for carers to take one week of unpaid statutory leave each year.
- A new right for parents to take statutory leave of up to 12 weeks for neonatal care.
You may think that all relevant COVID-19 provisions have been removed from law in the past few weeks and months in England however from the 1 of April 2022 the current guidance on voluntary COVID status certification in domestic settings will be officially removed. The government will also no longer recommend that venues use the NHS COVID pass for eligible entry. This of course comes with the usual COVID caveat that we all know too well, this could change at any point in the future.