Whilst we hope to see some normality returning in 2022, there will remain to be employment legislation changes to be aware of. So, what do you need to know for 2022?
Covid-19 - case law and other changes
We expect to see employment tribunal cases arising from the pandemic reaching employment tribunals in 2022. This may result in changing employment practices and advice going forward although exactly what those changes may be remains to be seen.
Whilst nationwide lockdowns are looking increasingly less likely we do expect to continue to see last minute and short term changes in legislation. Most recently we saw a temporary change to the statement of fitness to work scheme, with employees being able to self-certify absences for the first 28 days (normally 7) with effect from 10th December 2021 through to 26th January 2022.
In 2021 we saw the introduction of mandatory vaccinations for all care home workers. It is expected in April 2022 this will be extended to all NHS and frontline health care workers. What this means for employers is that from the 1st April 2022 it will become unlawful to deploy unvaccinated individuals in patient/service user facing roles.
Working backwards, this will mean that at a minimum all healthcare workers must have had their first dose by 3rd February in order that they can have a second dose by 1st April. The only exception being those [medically exempt as defined by the government]. (https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2021/12/C1470-vcod-for-healthcare-workers-planning-and-preparation-guidance.pdf)
Prepare for this by talking to employees now, understand which activities are covered by the regulations and therefore which individuals. Encourage people to have their vaccines and take advice regarding those who will not as you will need to follow a fair process to either redeploy or dismiss.
Minimum Wage Increases
In April 2022 the minimum wage increases from £8.91 to £9.50 for those aged 23 and over. We will also see increases in Statutory Sick Pay, family friendly payments (e.g. SMP, SPP) and redundancy payments. Full details can be found in our article on statutory rate increases.
Right to Work Checks
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 employers have been able to conduct digital right to work checks rather than seeing physical documents. This was a temporary measure to allow business to continue with remote working.
As we come out of the pandemic in a world where much more work will be done remotely a new permanent system of right to work checks will come in from April 2022. There will however be a cost of using this service for UK nationals (there are existing free online services for overseas candidates).
Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday
In May 2022, we see a change to the normal bank holiday as the country celebrates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The normal Monday Bank Holiday will move to Thursday 2nd June and Friday 3rd June will be an additional bank holiday, creating a 4 day weekend.
Whilst some may plan to close for the bank holiday, others, such as the hospitality industry will see increases in sales over the weekend. Whether your employees are entitled to this time off will depend on the wording of their contracts, start planning now. Notify employees whether you will expect them to work, take the time off from their normal holiday entitlement or will they be given the extra day off. See our article covering pay for additional bank holidays for more information.
Legislation expected with no confirmed dates
The pandemic has clearly left the government with other things to focus on that employment law changes, however, we have seen a number of consultations and there remains proposed legislation from before the pandemic that we expect to see come into force during 2022.
Possible legislation includes:
- A duty requiring employers to prevent sexual harassment, including explicit protections from third-party harassment.
- Redundancy protection for new parents to be extended.
- Introducing a right for all workers to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks service and requiring compensation for shifts cancelled at short notice.
- Prevention of deductions from tips and gratuities.
- The right to request flexible working to become a day 1 right.
We can help, so call us on 01245 910 500.
Article last updated: 5 January 2022
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