Employment Law Changes 2022
All at Ashtons Legal would like to wish you a Happy New Year and we hope you enjoyed the festive break. This article will outline some of the key changes to employment law occurring in 2022.
Increase in National Minimum Wage & National Living Wage
The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage usually increases each April. The table below illustrates the new rates which will come into force from 1 April 2022, the current rates which are in place until 31 March 2021 and the percentage increase.
|Rate from April 2022||Current Rate (April 2021 to March 2022)||Increase|
|National Living Wage||£9.50||£8.91||6.6%|
Right to Work Checking Rules Extended
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Home Office changed its rules to allow employers to carry out right to work checks and the prospective employees’ paperwork by video call. Due to the ongoing challenges being faced as a result of Covid-19, employers are permitted to continue to conduct Right to Work checks by video call until 5 April 2022.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
Deadlines to report on the gender pay gap are expected to revert to the usual timescales in 2022, these are:
- for public sector employers: deadline is 30 March 2022 with a snapshot date of 31 March 2021
- for private sector employers and voluntary organisations, the deadline is 4 April 2022 with a snapshot date of 5 April 2021.
Extended Redundancy Protection for New Parents
Currently, those on maternity leave who are at risk of redundancy must be offered suitable alternative employment before other employees. This protection usually begins when the person commences maternity leave and ends when the person returns to work.
Under proposed changes, this protection would be extended to cover from the moment the employer is informed of the person’s pregnancy and would end six months after the person has returned to work. This protection is also proposed to be extended to those on adoption leave or shared parental leave.
There has not yet been a confirmed date for implementation.
Changes to Flexible Working
The Covid-19 pandemic opened the eyes of many employees and employers as to the possibilities of remote working and working from home. Current Government guidance is for people to “work from home where they can” and under plans to modernise the way that people work in the UK, the Government has proposed that employees will be able to request a flexible working pattern regardless of time served with their employer, i.e. flexible working requests will become a ‘Day One Right’.
The proposals also consider whether the limit of one flexible working request per employee per year should be scrapped and also suggests cutting the three-month timeframe that employers have to make a decision on an employee’s flexible working request.
If an employer cannot accept a flexible working request they would need to consider alternatives, e.g. if an employee could not change their hours for all days, the employer would need to consider changing their hours on some days.
There has not yet been a confirmed date for implementation.
Workplace Sexual Harassment
Following a Government consultation in the latter part of 2019, the Government intends to introduce a new employer duty to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. This will require employers to take active steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring on their premises.
The Government are also looking into the possibility of extending the time limit to claim protection under the Equality Act from the current three months, to six months. This will be looked at “when Parliamentary time allows” and there has not yet been confirmation as to when these proposed changes will be debated or brought into effect.
Mandatory Vaccination for all NHS Staff
From 11 November 2021, it became mandatory for all care home workers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 unless they are medically exempt.
From April 2022, all patient-facing health and social care workers, including all NHS nurses who work in a “patient-facing role” will be required to have at least two doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccination (the current requirement to be considered “fully vaccinated” is 14 days after receiving a second dose). This requirement also extends to those working in general practices, private hospitals, community services and any other health or care organisation regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
Tipping & Gratuities Rule Change
The Government have confirmed that they will be introducing legislative measures to ensure that tips, gratuities and service charges go to workers in full. The only indication of a timescale is the Government explaining that this will be debated and introduced “when Parliamentary time allows”.
The Government have confirmed that these changes will include:
- requirements for employers not to make any deductions from tips received by their staff, including admin charges other than those required by tax law
- requirements for employers to distribute tips in a way that is fair and transparent
- requiring employers to have a written policy on tips and keep records of how tips have been dealt with
- requiring tips to be dealt with no later than the end of the month following the month it was paid by the customer
- provisions to allow workers to request information relating to an employer’s tipping record
- allowing claims to be brought against employers in the Employment Tribunals where employers fail to comply.
In July 2021 the Government confirmed that it would be introducing Carer’s Leave, which will allow employees to take up to five days unpaid leave per year to care for a dependant with a long-term care need. A dependant can include a spouse/civil partner, parent, child or other relatives living in the employee’s home. There is currently no confirmed date for implementation.
There will be some notice requirements and this is likely to mean that employees will be required to give twice as much notice as the leave they would like to take (e.g. if they would like to take the full five days, they would need to provide 10 days’ notice).
Carer’s Leave will be able to be taken on a flexible basis and employees will be able to self-certify that they are entitled to this leave. Employees will be able to take this type of leave either in full or half days.
If one of your employees requests Carer’s Leave and you are not able to accept this request outright, you may need to look at alternatives such as a flexible working pattern for the required time off (e.g. reduced/changed hours or the ability for the employee to work from home).
Carer’s Leave will be a ‘Day One Right’ meaning that employees will be eligible to take this leave from the first day they begin working with you.
Employees will be protected from dismissal and unfair treatment because they have taken or want to take Carer’s Leave.
New Labour Market Enforcement Body
The Government plans to create a single labour market enforcement body with extensive powers to protect employment rights and improve employer compliance. The new organisation will focus on protecting workers in relation to:
- modern slavery
- labour exploitation
- holiday pay
- statutory sick pay
- national minimum wage and national living wage.
Neonatal Leave and Pay
The Government plans to introduce statutory neonatal leave and pay for parents of babies who require neonatal care.
Parents will be entitled to an additional week of leave for each week their baby is in neonatal care (maximum of 12 weeks) provided they have 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer.
Trade Union Regulator Modernisation
Trade Union and Employers’ Association’s regulator will be modernised with the aim of upholding high standards and enhancing transparency in their dealings.
These rules are to come in as of April 2022 and the Certification Officer will be given the power to investigate potential breaches or investigate where a third party raises concerns that a trade union or employers’ association has breached its statutory duties.
Contact our employment law solicitors today
For specific advice for your business, please get in touch with our specialist Employment Law team through this website or by calling 0330 404 0749.
Our partners at Ashtons HR Consulting are also on hand to assist you.
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