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Still to come in 2022... Our latest employment update

13 Apr 2022

From 1 April

  • Minimum wage: the annual increase in the minimum wage rates were effective from 1 April, increasing the National Living Wage (amongst other minimum rates.

From 6 April

  • Statutory rates: the annual increase in the rate of SSP and family friendly leave rates are effective from today.
  • Right to work checks: employers were permitted to carry out electronic checks due to the coronavirus pandemic. This had been set to return to physical checks this month, but following positive feedback, the government has announced that the online system will continue and, from today, employers will no longer be able to accept biometric residence cards or permits and checks must be done through the Home Office online service. Employers can still carry out right to work checks on British and Irish nationals manually by checking their passport or can elect to use the online system. The use of remote right to work checks can continue until September 2022 to allow employers time to adjust to the new system.

Still to come in 2022…

  • ‘Fire and rehire’: following the mass redundancies at P&O ferries, the government has announced that a new statutory code of practice will be published on the use of ‘fire and rehire’ practices. It is expected to detail how employers must carry out fair and meaningful consultation and Tribunals will be required to take the code into account when hearing relevant cases, meaning failure to follow the code could result in an uplift to compensation.
  • Covid SSP: New regulations came into effect on 25 March to revoke the previous ‘deemed incapacity provision, meaning that for an individual to be eligible for SSP, they must actually be sick or incapable of working. As such, those who are asymptomatic or having very mild symptoms will no longer be eligible for SSP, even if they have tested positive.
  • Extension to redundancy protections to prevent pregnancy / maternity discrimination: at present, if a pregnant employee is selected for redundancy while on maternity leave, then they have enhanced rights to be offered suitable alternative roles in preference to their colleagues. It is anticipated that this right will be extended to offer protection from when the employee notifies the employer of their pregnancy to six months after an employee returns from maternity leave, but no date for implementation has been confirmed.
HR Update, Employment Law
  • Flexible working: following consultation, the government is considering a proposal that the right to request flexible working be available from day one of employment or even to be an automatic right unless the employer can justify an alternative arrangement.
  • Data protection: the ICO is expected to publish updated employment practice guidance this year, which is thought to potentially lessen the burden on employers.
  • Extended leave for neonatal care: in March 2020 the government published a consultation response confirming that parents of babies that are admitted into hospital (where the baby is 28 days old or younger) will be eligible for neonatal leave and pay if the admission lasts for a continuous period of seven days or more. The right to leave will apply from day-one of employment and will be available for up to a maximum of 12 weeks. It is thought that this leave will be in addition to maternity or paternity leave. The right to statutory pay during this leave will be subject to 26 continuous weeks service. An implementation date is yet to be confirmed.
  • Sexual harassment: it is expected that a new proactive duty will be introduced requiring employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and introducing new protections from third-party harassment. Nothing has yet been confirmed but it is thought that changes could be introduced in 2022.
  • Carers’ leave: it is expected that the government will confirm a new right to one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees with long-term care responsibilities.

If you would like further information on any of the above points, please get in touch with Tom Clarketom.clark@hay-kilner.co.uk.