With April fast approaching and the start of a new financial year, Katie Bowen Nicholas, Employment Lawyer at Hegarty Solicitors, discusses the upcoming changes to Employment law in 2022 that employers and HR professionals should be aware of and action if necessary.
National Minimum Wage and Statutory Pay Increases
The National Minimum Wage outlines the lowest amount that an employer can legally pay their employees. The hourly rate for each individual is determined by their age and whether they are an apprentice.
From 1 April 2022 the rates are as follows:
|Age 23 and over (National Living wage)||£9.50|
|Age 21 to 22||£9.18|
|Age 18 to 20||£6.83|
Statutory Sick Pay will also increase to £99.35 per week and Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental pay, and maternity allowance will increase to £156.66 per week.
National Insurance Contributions to rise
Despite The House of Commons approving a motion calling on the government to cancel next month’s planned National Insurance rise, the tax increase is still set to go ahead. The changes in April will see National Insurance Contributions rise to 1.25% for employers and employees.
The Employment Bill
The Employment Bill which was announced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019, did not progress as expected in 2021. The Bill is scheduled for a second reading on 18 March 2022.
The key reforms proposed by the Employment Bill include:
- A new right to request a flexible working from day one.
- The establishment of a single labour market enforcement agency, responsible for enforcing basic rights for vulnerable 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.
- Progress of the Good Work agenda by introducing the right for workers with variable hours to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service.
- Requiring employers to pass on all tips and service charges to their workers.
Employers should also be mindful of forthcoming Employment Tribunal determinations on Covid-19 related issues, including disputes regarding furlough, vaccination status and safety at work, to help inform policies concerning these issues.