There will be several key employment law developments that employers will have to manage in the coming weeks. To be prepared for these changes, we’ve highlighted key dates to be aware of:
National minimum wage increases: 1 April 2022
From 1 April 2022, the national minimum wage rate will increase, as per the details below:
- The National Living wage (workers aged 23 and over) – £8.91 to £9.50
- Workers aged 21 or 22 – £8.36 to £9.18. Workers aged 18 to 20 – £6.56 to £6.83
- £4.62 to £4.81 for workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age.
- £4.30 to £4.81 for apprentices under 19, or over 19 but in the first year of the apprenticeship.
Employers should ensure that, where necessary, their pay rates are in line with the new national minimum wage from 1 April 2022.
Employers should ensure they have a process for recording hours worked for those working at home to ensure that the National Minimum Wage Legislation is not breached by overtime hours over and above the contracted hours for a fixed salary.
Working from Home Tax Exemptions
The following Tax Exemptions which have been in place during the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 Tax Years to accommodate the increased working from home during the Pandemic are set to end on 5th April 2022. Employers may need to reassess their approach. The measures affected are:
- The ability for an employee who is required to work from home (even for part of their working time) to claim tax relief equal to the £6 per week homeworking allowance whilst not meeting the strict definition of home as a workplace.
- The temporary tax and NIC exemption for the costs of office equipment purchased by the employee for use at home and reimbursed by the employer.
- The suspension of the requirement for those who have benefitted under the Cycle to Work scheme from before 21 December 2020 to undertake qualifying journeys. This means that at least 50% of the cycle use must be for journeys to and from the workplace.
Increase in statutory family-related pay and sick pay: 3 and 6 April
On 3 April, the rate of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental, and parental bereavement pay will increase to £156.66, up from £151.97.
On 6 April, the rate for statutory sick pay will also rise to £99.35, up from £96.35.
Businesses are responsible for ensuring that employees on parental bereavement, adoption, maternity, paternity and shared parental leave, as well as employees on sick leave, are paid these new statutory minimum rates. They also need to review their policies and documents that mention the rates and update as required.
Bank holiday entitlement during Platinum Jubilee: 2 and 3 June
In 2022 the government announced a further bank holiday to take place on Friday 3 June in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Additionally, the late May bank holiday has been rescheduled for Thursday, 2 June.
Employers must consider how they will handle the extra bank holiday. An employee’s contract of employment will determine this. For example, if the employee’s contract allows them to take leave on “all bank and public holidays,” the employer must grant an additional day of leave.
Employers may choose to grant the extra bank holiday as a goodwill gesture to employees for all their efforts, even if they are not contractually obliged to grant this.
Digital Right to Work Checks to be made permanent: 6 April 2022
The Government has announced that Digital Right to Work (RTW) Checks are to be made permanent from 6 April 2022.
Digital RTW checks were introduced on a temporary basis to alleviate the practical difficulties associated with completing physical checks while working remotely during the pandemic.
These were meant to expire in June 2021 but were extended to make the process easier and quicker for employers struggling with staff shortages and ongoing periods of remote working arrangements.
Revise your statutory redundancy pay calculations: 6 April 2022
On 6 April, new restrictions on statutory redundancy pay for employees will take effect. If an employee who had been with the company for two years is dismissed for redundancy, employers must pay those a sum depending on their weekly wage, duration of service and age.
Currently, the weekly pay is limited to a certain amount of £544 as of 6 April 2021. However, this amount may change this year. The new figure will be confirmed in the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2022, which is expected to be released in February.
For redundancy dismissals occurring on or after 6 April 2022, HR professionals should ensure that calculations are made on the basis of this new maximum amount.
Issue your gender pay gap report by 30 March (public sector) and 4 April (private and voluntary sectors)
The gender pay gap reporting deadline for this year is 30 March and 4 April.
Organisations must publish their 12-month gender pay gap reports from their relevant snapshot date, which is 31 March for the public sector and 5 April for the private and voluntary sectors.
If your organisation has a headcount of 250 people or more on your ‘snapshot date’, you must adhere to the reporting requirements for the gender pay gap.
Please ensure all reports on the gender pay gap are published on the reporting portal on the GOV.UK website.
These are some of the employment law developments announced by the government so far, and it is wise to keep up to date for further developments announced throughout the year.
If you would like further advice on the upcoming 2022 employment law developments and to learn how businesses/hr teams can effectively manage these, please do not hesitate to contact our expert team.