1 February 2022

Employment Law 2022 Forecast

With 2022 well underway, you may want to keep an eye out for some of these anticipated employment law changes.

Firstly, there will be the annual rate changes in April. These will see a rise in the National Living Wage, the National Minimum Wage and National Insurance Contributions, as well as an increase to the statutory rates of pay such as maternity, paternity and sick pay. The rate changes always serve as a good prompt to make sure that all pay arrangements are up-to-date and in line with the statutory minimum requirements. The full list of revised rates is available on the gov.uk website and we have included a summary of the National Minimum Wage and statutory rate changes at the end of this article.

Later in the year, legislation which has faced pandemic-related delays will hopefully make its way through Parliament. Many of the expected changes will be captured in the Employment Bill, which, after being notably absent from the Queen’s Speech in 2021, will be considered “when parliamentary time allows”. The Employment Bill is due to include:

  • An attempt to encourage a greater work-life balance by introducing a day-one right to request flexible working. This is currently a right for employees with 26 weeks’ service only. The benefit of the right to make a flexible working request is that it must be considered by the employer following due process. A request can only be denied for one of eight reasons
  • Extending the obligation on employers to fairly pass on tip and service charges (see our article for more detail on this)
  • Introduction of new statutory leave entitlements for carers as well as for parents with neonatal care obligations
  • Introduction of a new statutory right for those without a fixed working pattern to request a more stable or predictable contract, reasonable notice of expected working hours and compensation if work is cancelled on short notice
  • Extending existing redundancy protection measures that are available to employees on maternity leave from the point they notify their employer of their pregnancy until six months after their return to work. The proposed changes are now on their second reading in Parliament and will also apply to those taking adoption and shared parental leave
  • Establishing a single labour market enforcement body to bring together traditionally separate bodies with the focus on protecting workers’ rights, including holiday pay, sick pay and modern slavery.

Beyond these changes we also expect to see progression, if not confirmation, of the outcome of the consultations surrounding ethnicity pay reporting and disability workforce reporting. The consultation for disability reporting has gone live and the consultation period is open until 25 March 2022, welcoming comments from employers and employees on the possible benefits and problems which could arise from any reporting. The ethnicity pay reporting consultation period closed in January 2019, but the consultation paper is currently being considered. The outcomes of both consultations are likely to be published within the Employment Bill as well.

Similarly, the current gender pay gap reporting regulations are undergoing a government review, with particular regard being given to the effectiveness and necessity of the regulations. The review comes amongst critics’ opinions that the intended goals of the regulations may not have been achieved and on the other hand that the reporting could be enforcing an unnecessary burden on employers.

As well as bringing in the “new” it is forecast that some “old” will be revoked. Most notably we will start to see the lifting of temporary measures that were introduced to mitigate the problems posed by COVID-19. This will include lifting the short-form right to work checks and reinstating the need for employers to check original documentation or the prescribed online testing for those holding either a biometric residence permit, biometric residence card or frontier worker permit. In addition, employment tribunals are expected to move away from remote hearings and back towards traditional in-person hearings where possible.

Inevitably there will be developments throughout the year which we cannot yet anticipate, including any binding judgments given in the courts and tribunals. As always, we will keep abreast of any such developments and release updates on the most pertinent issues.

April 2022 rate changes

National Minimum Wage

Category of worker 2021/2022 2022/2023
Aged 23+ £8.91 £9.50
Aged 21 – 22 inclusive £8.36 £9.18
Aged 18 – 20 inclusive £6.56 £6.83
Aged under 18 £4.62 £4.81
Apprentice rate £4.30 £4.81

Statutory rates

2021/2022 2022/2023
Statutory sick pay £96.36 £99.35 per week
Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay together with maternity allowance £151.97 £156.66 per week

If you wish to discuss the above in any more detail or have any other employment or HR law related issues, please contact Joe Beeston, Counsel, or Nina Gilroy, Legal Executive, in our Corporate group.

Disclaimer

This note reflects our opinion and views as of 14 January 2022 and is a general summary of the legal position in England and Wales. It does not constitute legal advice.

Our Insights

"Definitely a name in this space."
Chambers UK, 2021
×