We round up the latest employment news.
Reminder of employment law changes occurring in April
National Minimum Wage
From Friday 1 April 2022, the National Living Wage, paid to workers aged 23 and over, increased by 59 pence to £9.50.
The National Minimum Wage rates also increased as follows:
Those aged 21-22 will receive £9.18 per hour – an increase of 82 pence
Those aged 18 - 20 will receive £6.83 – an increase of 27 pence
Those aged 16-17 will receive £4.81 – an increase of 19 pence
Apprentices under the age of 19 or in their first year will receive £4.81 – an increase of 51 pence.
Increase in National Insurance contributions
National Insurance contributions for employers and employees rose by 1.25% from Wednesday 6 April 2022. The increase will fund health and social care and will be replaced in April 2023 by a separate health and social care levy (and NIC rates will revert to current levels at that point).
Increases to the statutory rates for maternity, paternity, shared parental pay, adoption and sick pay
Weekly rates for family related leave increased by £4.69 to £156.66 from Monday 11 April 2022, and the rate for Statutory Sick Pay increased by £3.00 to £99.35 per week from Wednesday 6 April 2022.
Increases in statutory payments and tribunal awards
The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissals taking effect from Wednesday 6 April 2022 increased to £93,878 (from its previous rate of £89,493).
A weeks’ pay (used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and the basic award in unfair dismissal claims) increased to £571 (from its previous rate of £544).
Discrimination claims: increase in injury to feelings awards
Awards for injury to feelings have been substantially increased for all claims presented on or after Wednesday 6 April 2022.
Individuals who bring successful discrimination claims are entitled to be compensated for the upset and hurt they’ve suffered by way of an injury to feelings award. These awards are separate from, and in addition to awards to compensate for financial loss, and can be made even where no financial loss has been suffered.
The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales and Scotland have issued
joint Presidential Guidance updating the bands of awards for injury to feelings, known as the Vento bands. You can find out what they are here. Acas bereavement guidance
Acas has updated its
guidance on leave and pay when someone dies. It now includes a sample bereavement policy, as well as outlining the statutory maternity and paternity leave rules for parents who have lost a pregnancy after 24 weeks, and the parental bereavement leave entitlement introduced in 2020. New guidance from Information Commissioner’s Office on easing of COVID-19 measures
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published new advice
Data protection and Coronavirus-19—relaxation of government measures which provides a brief overview of the relevant issues employers need to consider if they’ve been collecting information about the vaccination status of their staff. Statutory Sick Pay – further suspension of ‘waiting days’ due to COVID-19 absences
New regulations came into force on Friday 25 March 2022. They disapply the requirement for an employee to wait three days before being able to claim SSP if they’re unable to work because of a COVID related illness that started on or before Thursday 24 March 2022. This was necessary following the expiry of section 40 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 on Thursday 24 March 2022.
Low Pay Commission launches consultation seeking views on National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage
The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has launched a
consultation seeking evidence on the impact of National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) increases to help guide its recommendations on the 2023 minimum wage rates. The LPC also seeks views on business conditions in light of:
The COVID-19 pandemic
The impact of an increase to an NLW rate of £10.32 in April 2023
The NLW pathway to 2024 that forecasts the NLW rate will be £10.95 in April 2024.
The consultation closes at 6pm on Monday 20 June 2022.
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announces new statutory code on ‘fire and rehire’ practices
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has
announced a new statutory code, tackling the use of ‘fire and rehire’ practices, which refers to when an employer dismisses a worker and rehires them on less-favourable terms.
It will issue a new statutory code of practice which will set out how businesses can hold fair, transparent, and meaningful consultations when changing employment terms. The employment tribunal will take the code into account, including for unfair dismissal cases, as it will have the power to apply an uplift of up to 25% on an employee’s compensation if the code isn’t complied with.
Immigration: Home Office updates sponsor guidance
The Home Office has updated its sponsor guidance document
Appendix D: keeping records for sponsorship. The guidance deletes the requirement for sponsors to retain a copy of each sponsored worker’s current passport. It now states that employers should retain evidence that each sponsored worker has the right to work in the UK and undertake the work in question.
Other changes include clarification that employers should check and evidence the date of entry to the UK if they sponsored the worker’s most recent entry clearance application. References to the Global Business Mobility routes (with consequential changes to other headings) are inserted, and references to manual right to work checks for biometric card holders have been deleted.
Immigration: Home Office updates right to work checks guidance for employers
The Home Office has published an updated version of its right to work checks
guidance document for employers. A new Annex F has been inserted to help employers understand what steps they need to take before employing a Ukrainian national. It provides examples of passport endorsements issued to Ukrainian nationals and their family members, and an entry clearance vignette under Appendix Ukraine Scheme.
The remaining sections of the guidance are almost identical to the draft guidance document published on Friday 11 March 2022.
Equality and Human Rights Commission publishes guidance for separate and single-sex service providers
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published
guidance for separate and single-sex service providers regarding the sex and gender reassignment provisions of the Equality Act 2010. This is to protect people from sex and gender reassignment discrimination. Read more - April 2022
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