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10 Changes in Employment Law Due in 2022

10 January 2022

There are a number of key employment law changes coming in 2022 as a response to current affairs and changes in the workplace. Partly because of the global COVID pandemic as well as Brexit and immigration law changes. Many of these changes were proposed following a Government consultation with the public and are expected to be included in a forthcoming Employment Bill.

Key Changes to take effect in 2022:

1. National Minimum Wage Increase

National Minimum Wage increase will take effect on 6th April 2022. The changes to NMW are as follows;

● National living wage (age 23 or over): £9.50 per hour
● Age 21 to 22: £9.18 per hour
● Age 18 to 20: £6.83 per hour
● Age 16 to 17: £4.81 per hour
● Apprentice rate: £4.81 per hour

2. Rise in National Insurance Contributions

National Insurance contributions for employers and employees will rise by 1.25% on 6th April 2022. This increase to NI contributions will support the funding of health and social care.

3. Right to request flexible working

Employers will be able to request flexible working from the commencement of a new job instead of the previous 26 weeks' service.

4. Right to a more predictable employment contract for temporary workers

A new right for temporary workers, including those on zero hours contracts and agency workers to request a more predictable contract after 26 weeks' continuous service. This is intended to provide more certainty about the number of hours or days they will be required to work. This will only apply to workers once they have accrued 26 weeks’ continuous service.

5. Neonatal Leave and Pay for employees

A new right to additional neonatal leave which would grant parents of babies who are born prematurely or who are admitted to hospital in their first four weeks to up to 12 weeks' paid time off or one week of leave for each week spent in neonatal care.

6. Right to carer’s leave

Employees who are unpaid carers will have the right to take five days’ unpaid leave per year to deal with their caring responsibilities. This would be a day one right for employees and would allow them to take time off of work to provide care, attend appointments, or arrange alternative care for an individual for whom they are responsible.

7. Changes to sexual harassment legislation in 2022

The Government’s plans to introduce a proactive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and to introduce new protections against harassment by third parties. Employers will be required to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring at work and could also be held liable for harassment committed by visitors to the workplace, such as suppliers and customers.

8. Redundancy protections for pregnant workers and those on maternity leave and other forms of family leave

By extending the period of protection to apply from the point the employee informs the employer that the employee is pregnant to six months after the end of the family leave period.

9. Pay transparency and gender and race pay gap

Organisations employing 250 or more employees are obliged to publish an annual report containing data on their gender pay gap.

For public sector employers, the deadline is 30th March 2022 with a snapshot date of 31 March 2021; For private sector employers and voluntary organisations, the deadline is 4th April 2022 with a snapshot date of 5 April 2021.

Ethnicity pay gap reporting – The response to the 2018 consultation on mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting is still awaited. Further guidance is expected in the course of considerations and debates on the Employment Bill.

10. Legal obligations regarding tips and gratuities

The proposed measures would make it illegal for employers to withhold tips from workers. Tips must be passed on to workers within one month of the tip being paid, without any employer deductions except those required by law. If employers fail to comply with the new rules they may be subjected to fines and workers may be able to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

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