Looking forward to Spring – yes really. 

This is the almond blossom in our front garden this morning.  Not bad for Manchester in mid-March, although you’ll note, it is raining!

Spring is usually the time when new #employment law is introduced.

This year there isn’t much.  Mostly housekeeping and a few #COVID related things to catch up with.

  1. Firstly the Housekeeping matters include (start dates where applicable):-
    • An extra bank holiday on 3rd June, and the traditional Whit week holiday moved to 2nd. Many contracts don’t require you to grant this extra day, but I’m sure most employers will.
    • Probably the largest single increase in the national minimum wage (NMW) with the headline rate for workers aged 23 and over increasing to £9.50 (April 1st).
    • 25% increase in employers and employee NI contributions from 6th April. Note, the increase does not apply to employees under 21, and apprentices under the age of 25.
    • The Government is asking employers to add a message onto payslips for the first year of this increase to say ‘25% uplift in NICs funds NHS, health & social care’.
    • SSP will be £99.35 per week (April 6th), and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and other family related leave payments will be £156.66 (11th April).
    • A weeks’ pay for statutory redundancy payments goes up to £571 and max award for unfair dismissal compensation to £93,878 (6th April).
    • Certain right to work in the UK checks are going to have to be made on line (April 6th). This change only applies to those holding various biometric residence permits. The system remains the same for others who do not hold these specific documents such as British and Irish passport holders.The change to online checking will be particularly important to you if you are an immigration sponsoring organisation – you could lose your license if you don’t use it.
    • The COVID related concession that allows ‘virtual’ checks’ to be made via video link for those who can rely on a passport, has been extended to 30th September 2022.
    • Following a High Court decision, workers (such as gig economy staff who are not employees) have to be provided with personal protective equipment where there is a health and safety risk. Previously the requirement only applied to employees.
    • Flexible apprenticeships allowing project work with a variety of organisations in the creative and construction sectors are being introduced. Some coverage suggests this is from 6th April, but the press announcement suggests they may already be available.Either way, if you are in these sectors, your first port of call is probably one of the approved agencies – see list.
  2. Covid related developments: –
  • The facility for SMEs to reclaim SSP for COVID related absence ends on 17th March and all claims must be in by (24th March).
  • Eligibility for SSP will revert to being from the fourth day of absence for COVID related absence (24th March).
  • The Government has updated guidance for the ‘clinically vulnerable’, which now says –‘Work from home if this feels right for you – if you cannot work from home, speak to your employer about what arrangements they can make to reduce your risk’
  • About 1 in 50 people are thought to be suffering from long covid according to the Office for National Statistics. The Equality and Human Rights Commission recommends that it is treated as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.The main implication of this is the triggering of the need to make reasonable adjustments such as working from home or adjusted hours.  Since adjustments should help someone return to normal working, they can be timebound.
  • The requirement (in England) to explicitly consider #COVID-19 in risk assessments will be shelved (1st April), and it is expected that in Wales their statutory requirement for a COVID-19 risk assessment will also go.
  • The ‘Working Safely’ guidelines will be replaced (1st April) with new public health guidance – not available yet, but I will update when they are published.
  • Workers are no longer obliged to tell their employer that they have tested positive.

You can take a look at a previous blog to see everything that was expected this year.  It is unlikely that we will see much progress with the large number of promised employment law changes whilst the Government has other preoccupations.

The next time employment related changes normally get introduced will be October.

The list may even be smaller!

Ken Allison | 16th March 2022 | Paradigm Partners | www.paradigmpartners.co.uk

Ken Allison is an engaging trainer and speaker who manages to make his topics, highly interactive, challenging, entertaining, and above all, relevant to the 21st Century executive. Ken uses his understanding of managing businesses to show managers what they ‘can do’ rather than what they ‘cannot do’.

Ken specialises in taking the strain out of employment law related people issues through training workshops for managers, and his firm’s ‘ExecutiveHR’ service, providing telephone based support services to businesses throughout the UK.

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