Key dates for employment law changes for SMEs in 2022

Along with the usual raft of employment law changes such as the statutory increases to National Minimum Wages, there are a number of other changes this year that employers should take into account.

Our employment & HR experts have summarised the upcoming changes and what you can do to prepare for them.

26 January – The end to self-certification for sickness

Whilst this date has already passed, we’ve included to make you aware that the temporary measures that permit employees to self-certify for 28 days ends. Any period of sickness starting after 26 January 2022 will revert to the usual 7 day self-certification.

 

31 January – The Apprenticeship Bonus scheme ends

The closing date for the government incentive payment for new apprentices claiming a £3,000 bonus for every apprentice who started between 1 April 2021 – 30 September 2021 came to an end on 31 January 2022.

24 March – SSP & COVID

From 24 March, the COVID-19 provisions within Statutory Sick Pay and Employment and Support Allowance regulations will end.

People with COVID-19 may still be eligible, subject to the normal conditions of entitlement. Industry specific guidance is due from 1st April. More information about living with COVID-19 can be found here.

1 April – Increases to National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

New rate

Current rate

Age 23+ £9.50 £8.91
Age 21-22 £9.18 £8.36
Age 18-20 £6.83 £6.56
Age 16-17 £4.81 £4.62
Apprentice rate £4.81 £4.30

 

3 April – Increase to Statutory family related payments (SMP, SPP, ShPP, SPBP)

Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Leave Pay, Statutory Bereavement Pay, all increase to £156.66 per week.

 

6 April – National Insurance contributions for employers and employees will rise by 1.25%.

The increase is to fund health and social care. In April 2023 the rates will reduce again and a separate levy will be introduced.

 

6 April – Increase to Statutory Sick Pay

Statutory Sick Pay increases to £99.35 per week

 

6 April – End to COVID adjusted right to work checks

See our separate article on this here.

 

6 April  – new statutory redundancy amount

From 6 April, the amount used to calculate a weeks’ pay for statutory redundancy (and other compensation calculations) will increase from £544 to £571.

The maximum amount a tribunal can award for unfair dismissal will also increase, to £93,878 (from £89,493 –or a years’ salary, whichever is lower).

 

6 April  – digital fit notes

Fit notes will no longer have to include a signature, and can instead be issued digitally.

6 April  – PPE at work changes

The obligation on employers to provide suitable PPE where there is a health and safety risk will be extended to workers (currently it covers only employees)

 

June – a 6-month trial of a 4-day working week will start.

A number of organisations (including Oxford and Cambridge universities) are running the program, which they hope 20-30 employers of various sizes will sign up to. The trial will see employees working 4 days for the same amount of pay.

 

For your watch list…

Menopause protection

The Women and Equalities Committee is looking at discrimination faced by women in the workplace going through the menopause. Recommendations should be published this year and we may see changes to the Equality Act as a result.

 

Sexual harassment protection

We’re still waiting for the promised changes to the Equality Act to protect employees against harassment by third parties. The government has also said it will consider extending the 3-month time limit for bringing discrimination claims to 6 months. 2022 could be the year.

 

Ethnicity pay gap reporting

A parliamentary debate followed a petition to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. This took place in September 2021, so we may see a response this year.

 

Disability pay gap reporting

A consultation launched in December 2021 and closes in March 2022 so that response should also be published this year.

 

Flexible working

We wrote about the government consultation on this last year. There are a number of proposals under consideration to widen flexible working rights and we might see the government response to these in 2022.

 

Data protection

Following a consultation which closed in November 2021, we could see changes to data protection laws to ease the burden on employers. New guidance for employers is also expected from the ICO in 2022.

 

Employment Bill

Pre Pandemic, the government promised a new Employment Bill covering a number of new rights and protections. We don’t know whether 2022 will be the year it all happens, but it could be. If it does, changes will include:

  • Carer’s leave –one week’s paid leave for carers
  • Extension of redundancy protection – from the point when a woman confirms to her employer that she’s pregnant, until 6 months after she returns from maternity leave
  • Neonatal leave and pay
  • Right to a more stable contract after 26 weeks for zero hours workers
  • Confidentiality and NDAs – we’re likely to see tighter rules on the use of confidentiality provisions in employment contracts and settlement agreements, as well as a requirement for independent legal advice where an employee is asked to sign an NDA
  • Tips – employees working in the hospitality industry will gain the right to receive 100% of their tips (subject to PAYE deductions), and employers will be required to operate fair and trans

 

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