Planning ahead for 2022

Wednesday December 29, 2021

After you have completed some much-deserved time off for Christmas, hopefully seen friends and family, perhaps enjoyed a tipple, attention will shift to 2022. Even putting the coronavirus pandemic aside (if only!), there is much change to employment law for you to get your head around. Here is our quick round-up of the main changes, so you can get planning.

Do you need to report on any gender pay gap?

For several years, organisations employing 250 people or more have had to report on their gender pay gap each year. A six-month extension was given last year, due to COVID-19, but the reports fall due in spring: for public sector employers on 30th March (looking at a snapshot of 31st March 2021), and for private sector employers on 4th April (looking at a snapshot of 5th April 2021).

National minimum wage increases

The chancellor announced in the Autumn Budget that national minimum wages would increase on 1st April 2022. If you employ people at or near the minimum wage, you will need to budget for rises as follows:

  • The national living wage for workers aged 23 or older is increasing from £8.91 to £9.50
  • For workers aged 21 and 22 the national minimum wage is rising from £8.36 to £9.18
  • For workers aged 18 to 20 it is rising from £6.56 to £6.83
  • For workers younger than 18 who no longer have to go to school, it is going up from £4.62 to £4.81
  • And for first year apprentices or under-19s it is changing from £4.30 to £4.81.

Statutory pay increases

There are also increases to several statutory pay rates in April. From 3rd April, maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, and parental bereavement pay will each increase from £151.97 to £156.66. And then from 6th April sick pay will rise from £96.35 to £99.35.

An increase to statutory redundancy weekly pay cap is also due to take effect from 6th April, but the new rate will not be announced until February. For reference, the current weekly cap is £544.

Will right-to-work checks change?

You probably already know that in normal times strict right-to-work checks require that you meet new hires face to face and take copies of original documentation which proves their right to work in the UK.

During the coronavirus crisis, video calls and scanned documentation have been temporarily sufficient. However, this relaxation is set to end on 5th April 2022. It may yet be extended again, but keep an eye on it as the penalties for non-compliance are serious.

An extra bank holiday

To mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, the government has announced an extra bank holiday. In fact, they are also shifting the second May bank holiday to Thursday 2nd June, immediately before the bonus bank holiday on the Friday.

There is a little bit to process here for employers. First, whether your team must be granted the extra day off by default. The wording of your employment contracts will determine this, and you can find out more about it here. Second, whether, if they do not automatically get the day off, you want to give it to them anyway to foster good will. Third, managing a potential flurry of annual leave requests from people wishing to get a longer break by extending three days annual leave. We always recommend our HR software package for taking the stress out of managing annual leave.

Curve balls?

Those are the main matters of employment law that we are aware of at this point, but one or two curve balls are normally thrown in any given year. Vaccination status is one issue to keep an eye on – the care home sector has seen the introduction of a no-jab-no-job law in November 2021. Could this become more widespread?

We may also see change in provisions relating to carer’s leave, sexual harassment, neonatal leave and pay, the right to request flexible working, a new single labour market enforcement body and the extension of redundancy protection for women and new parents. These may all be announced in the forthcoming Employment Bill at some point in 2022.

Need more support

As always, we are here to help. So if the above raises any questions for you, or you would like to level-up your HR support, please contact your local HR Dept office.

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