2022 will see businesses entering the first financial year following the end of the transition period post-Brexit, plus the significant financial changes due to the new health and social care levy which will see an increase in National Insurance contributions and there will also be significant increases to the National Minimum Wage. This is all on top of the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic.
We also envisage that staff planning, employee retention, recruitment and positioning the employer brand will be key for many employers to ensure that they can properly finance and maintain their human resources, and thus continue to operate in this unique economic climate. We have already seen the beginning of some significant changes in policy that aims to increase employee retention and become an employer of choice such as those topics like hybrid working, the menopause, supporting domestic abuse, the protection of veganism and more inclusive policies and practices.
You can also watch our recent webinar on this topic On Demand.
There are several pieces of employment legislation being introduced in 2022
7 January: The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2022
These regulations were made on 6th January 2022 and came into force on 7th January 2022, with an implementation date of 1 April 2022. They enforce the requirement for evidence of vaccination for those deployed in the wider health and social care sector.
There is currently a 12-week grace period during which time, existing employees must have received the vaccine. This grace period runs until 31st March 2022, following which, the new rules shall come into force on the 1st April 2022.
30 March (Public sector) 4 April (Private sector): Gender Pay Report
Public and private sector organisations must publish their gender pay gap reports which focusses on the 12-month period starting from the 31 March (public sector) and 5 April 2021 (private sector).
1 April 2022: The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (regulated activities) (amendment) (coronavirus) (no.2) Regulations 2022
The purpose of this legislation is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in health and social care settings, including an individual’s own home, to protect somebody who is receiving care, as well as protect employees in the health and social care sector.
From 1 April 2022 it will become illegal for a setting operating in the health and social care sector that provides nursing or personal care in respect of a regulated activity to allow anyone into their premises who cannot evidence that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or where they are exempt from the regulations, proof of the exemption.
This piece of legislation amends the current Health and Social Care Act 2008 (regulated activities) Regulations 2014 which apply to CQC registered care homes in England, and businesses that operate within. The amendment taking effect from 1 April 2022 will cover settings such as GP surgeries, dentists, hospitals, community services and in addition to those working in a clinical role, it will also apply to roles such as receptionists, porters, and cleaners.
1 April 2022: National Minimum Wage
In April there will be an increase to the National Minimum Wage, as is usually the case each year. You can find out what the new rates will be in our article ‘key employment statistics’.
1 April 2022: Trade Union Act 2016
The above legislation is being reformed and from 1 April, it will bring functions of the Certification Officer in line with other UK regulators, such as the Pensions Regulator, Financial Reporting Council, and the Electoral Commission. It will mean that those who are members of a union can be reassured that their union will uphold high standards as well as allowing the Certification Officer the ability to respond to third party complaints when a union or employer association may have breached its statutory duties.
6 April 2022: Statutory Sick Pay
It is expected that the usual annual uplift to statutory sick pay will be implemented, taking the weekly rate to £99.35 (currently £96.35).
6 April 2022: Statutory redundancy pay
It is expected that the statutory rate of pay used to calculate a week’s redundancy will be increased from the weekly cap of £544. The exact amount is to be confirmed, but it is expected to be announced in February.
6 April 2022: National Insurance increase
Following the government’s announcement to introduce a new health and social care levy, we will see changes made to national insurance contributions from 6 April 2022. There will be a temporary increase to the main and additional rates of class 1 (A and B) and class 4 (self-employed) national insurance contributions (except for those over the state pension age) to support the NHS and equivalent bodies.
These temporary increases will end April 2023, when a new identifiable Health and Social Care Levy can operate. This means that the 1.25% collected from employee, employer and the self-employed, will instead come directly from this levy rather than NICs, where it will be at this point that NIC’s will revert to 2021-22 levels. It also means, that those over the state pension age will also be required to pay the levy.
11 April 2022: Statutory rates
It is expected that the usual annual uplift to statutory rates will be implemented on 6 April. This would apply to statutory adoption pay, statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, statutory shared parental pay, statutory parental bereavement pay and statutory sick pay.
2 and 3 June 2022: UK Bank holidays
To celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee there will be an additional bank holiday offered which will be Friday 3 June. Employers must check their employment contracts to understand their own legal position on whether their employees will be legally entitled to it and whether it must be paid.
In addition to this extra bank holiday, the Spring bank holiday which usually takes place at the end of May, has been moved to Thursday 2 June.
The Queen’s speech of December 2019 saw the announcement of an Employment Bill. However, because of COVID-19 we have not yet seen its implementation. Whether we see developments on this in 2022 is still unclear given we remain in the pandemic. When introduced, the Employment Bill will aim to:
- Introduce a new single enforcement body to enforce breaches relating to the National Minimum Wage, modern slavery, employment agencies, Statutory Sick Pay and holiday pay for vulnerable workers.
- The Bill will also enable workers to receive tips earned in full, meaning an employer will be required to pass on all tips in full and without deduction
- A new right for workers to request a more predictable contract after 26 weeks of service
- Extending the current rights in place for pregnant employees where employment protection is extended from the point the employee informs the employer of their pregnancy to six months after their period of leave.
- A new entitlement to neonatal leave, providing employees up to 12 weeks paid time off to support when a baby is born prematurely or admitted to hospital in their first four weeks of life
- One week’s unpaid leave for carers
- Giving employees the right to request flexible working from day one of employment
Further HR Guidance
· Webinar Recording: you can watch the HR Solutions webinar and download the webinar slides, here.
· HR Knowledge Base: as part of your PRCA membership you can get access to the HR Knowledge Base, which is the go-to resource for thousands of business owners and managers across the UK. The HR Knowledge Base includes HR documents, templates, legal updates, news and hot topic articles as well as access to free webinars and HR seminars. To find out more call 0844 324 5840 or visit here.