HR Trends & Covid
There is no clear end to the Covid pandemic and therefore, unfortunately, we should expect it to impact 2022, and employers should be HR ready!
On the back of the Government making vaccinations mandatory for those working in care homes, with the exception of those medically exempt, they have now extended mandatory vaccinations to include all frontline staff in CQC regulated healthcare provision. MP’s passed the regulations in December 2021, meaning that from April 2022, employees will need to have two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to go to work, if their role involves direct contact with patients. Again the rule doesn’t apply to the medically exempt. Employers with affected staff, should seek advice on how best to deal with anyone not fully vaccinated.
At time of writing, the Omicron variant has seen new measures and restrictions being introduced, as part of the Governments Plan B. These include the wearing of face masks in many indoor venues, NHS Covid passes or a recent negative test to enter specific settings and where people can, they should work from home. All these have an impact on both employees and employers and further measures maybe needed if Omicron continues to spread. All businesses should ensure they comply with the guidance and be ready to adapt to any further measures should the need arise.
Do you need help understanding the current Covid guidelines & HR trends, and what they mean for your business? Speak to our HR team today.
Employment Law Changes in 2022
At the end of 2021 the Government introduced a temporary change to Statutory Sick Pay Regulations and this continues in January 2022. The change is that an employee is not required to provide a sick note until they have been off for 28 days or more, up to 28 days, they can self-certify. This is designed to ease the burden on GP’s and help them focus on the vaccine booster program. The temporary rule is currently in place up to and including 26th January 2022, although this may be extended.
In general, Covid has been blamed for the delay in the introduction of other new employment legislation, although we should expect the new Employment Bill in 2022. The Bill is likely to incorporate the changes recommended by the Good Work Plan. These include:
- The establishment of a new single enforcement agency for employment rights such as rights to SSP and enforcing Tribunal Awards.
- Extended redundancy protection for workers on maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave, including extending redundancy protection to six months following a return to work from maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave.
- Neonatal leave and pay for parents of babies born prematurely.
- Proposed new entitlement to a week’s unpaid leave for carers.
- New legislation to prevent employers making deductions from tips given by customers to staff.
- A new right for casual works to request a more predictable working pattern after 26 weeks service and requiring that workers receive compensation for shifts cancelled at the last minute.
- Enhanced flexible working rights.
- Extension of the amount of time needed to break a period of continuous service from one week to four weeks.
- New legislation mandating that organisations publish their modern slavery statements on a new government registry.
Employers who have part-year workers should also keep an eye out for the decision from the Supreme Court on the Harpur Brazel Trust case. Employers will hope that the appeal is successful, resulting in the re-instatement of the principle of pro-rating statutory holiday entitlement for those employees who do not work all year. As it stands an employee is entitled to 5.6 weeks leave, regardless of how many weeks of the year are worked.
HR Trends & Key Pay-Related Changes in 2022
- 1st April 2022 – The hourly rate of the National Living Wage, the rate for workers who are aged 23 and over, increases from £8.91 to £9.50. The National Minimum Wage for workers aged 21 and 22 rises from £8.36 to £9.18 per hour. The rate for workers who are aged at least 18, but under 21 increases from £6.56 to £6.83 per hour; the rate for workers aged 16 or 17 rises from £4.62 to £4.81 per hour; and the apprentice rate rises from £4.30 to £4.81 per hour. The accommodation offset increases from £8.36 to £8.70 per day.
- 3rd April 2022 – The rates of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, statutory adoption pay, statutory shared parental pay and statutory parental bereavement pay increase from £151.97 per week to £156.66 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is the lower). The weekly earnings threshold increases from £120 to £123.
- 5th April 2022– Is the deadline for companies with over 250 employees to report gender pay gap.
- 6th April 2022 – The rate of statutory sick pay increases from £96.35 per week to £99.35 per week. The weekly earnings threshold increases from £120 to £123.
Speak to our team of expert Employment Law Consultants today for FREE HR Advice about the key HR trends affecting businesses and other HR issues including staff contracts, handbooks and Employment Law Policies.