In this article, the MIA’s trusted Business Support Helpline Partner, Croner, looks at the employment law updates that you should expect. We will also mention other proposals that the government might consider this year. The proposal for employees right to request flexible working from day one of their employment is one of them.
What about Covid? While most Covid-related legislation has ended (furlough, shielding, etc.), vaccination related requirements will come into place. Also, some legislation has been re-opened, such as the SSP Rebate Scheme.
Employment law update 1 – mandatory Covid vaccination
Since November 2021, care homes in the UK can only allow vaccinated persons to enter their settings. The government also names the few applicable exceptions,here.
What is changing then into the new year? From April 2022, this legal requirement will extend the wider health and social care setting. That means that any CQC regulated facility, such as a day centre for disabled people. It will also apply to staff working in GP practices and hospitals.
With the Omicron variant having triggered a national booster vaccines campaign, and researchers discussing the possibility of further variants, we expect to see further developments that will affect the employment market.
Employment law update 2 – National Minimum Wage
UK employers see changes to National Minimum Wage in force starting April 2022, and the new rates are:
- £9.50 for employees aged over 22
- £9.18 for employees aged 21-22
- £6.83 for employees aged 18-20
- £4.81 for employees aged 16-17 and for apprentices
- £8.70 as accommodation offset
We see the biggest increase, of almost 12%, to the apprenticeship rate, in line with the government programme to boost work-based education.
Make sure you update the wages you play your employees and any apprentices you might decide to take on board. Don’t risk getting caught in the wrong and see yourself included in the name and shame government initiatives.
With us, you can access our salary benchmarking tool for a better overall view of how to expect to pay your employees in 2022. It isn’t only about meeting the minimum requirements, but also about attracting and keeping the best employees.
Employment law update 3 – digital right to work checks
Employers who hire staff from abroad must, according to law, check their eligibility to take up employment in the UK. To simplify the process, during the pandemic the government put in place a digital system for the Right to work checks.
Initially, organisations could only use the digital system up to September 2021. However, the Government confirmed this week that digital right to work checks will become permanent from April 2022.
This will prove particularly relevant to the social care sector. Care homes and similar organisations can now benefit from the 12 months visa as the Health and Care scheme has expanded into 2022.
Employment law update 4 – gender pay gap reporting
Every year, companies with at least 250 employees need to fill in and submit their report on gender pay gap. This applies to both private and public sector companies, with the only difference reflected in the deadline.
In 2022, employers in the private and voluntary sector have a deadline set for April 5th, 2022. Most public sector organisations need to submit their report earlier, by March 31st, 2022. After these dates, they risk government enforcement action.
What has changed, considering that the law requires employers to do this every year? Due to the pandemic, the obligation to report on the gender pay gap has been suspended for the previous year. Companies could still submit their files on a voluntary basis.
Possible developments into the new year
Besides the above already announced employment law updates into 2022, the government has seen other suggestions that might turn into law. We will list them in here for awareness, and we’ll keep you updated with any future changes.
The most important suggestion to change the current terms of the employment law refer to:
- Recognising menopause discrimination by law
- Recognising new rights for carers and working parents
- Recognising worker’s right to request for flexible working from day one of employment
The government launched a consultation in the later of the three, which has closed in September 2021. We are now awaiting for the results of this to be published.
The world of business has changed in a way that no one could have anticipated. Now more than ever, your MIA membership can help your business to recover, adapt, and thrive in the new reality of the working world.
For any advice or guidance on any of the above, or if you have other queries, all MIA members have free access to Croner’s member support helpline. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the exclusive Business Support Helpline scheme number.