Emplaw Monthly - End of March 2022
NEW FROM OUR AUTHORS
Understanding Measures in the TUPE Information And Consultation Process
An on-demand webinar from Emplaw authors Gowling WLG explaining what is meant by 'measures' and the information and consultation process, including with regards to pension changes.
New Powers for Trade Union 'regulator'
Emplaw authors, Morrish Solicitors, highlight new powers for the Certification Officer which take effect from 1st April 2022.
EMPLOYER/ADVISOR NEED TO KNOW
April statutory uplifts
NMW amounts, statutory payments, such as SSP, and the annual compensation limits and awards for a range for employment claims are set to increase in April.
The key changes are as follows:
From 1 April 2022, the new national minimum wage rates will apply:
Worker Age/type Hourly Rate
Aged 23 and above (National Living Wage Rate) £9.50
Aged 21to 22 (inclusive) £9.18
Aged 18 - 20 (inclusive) £6.83
Aged 18 (but compulsory school leaving age) £4.81
Apprentices aged under 19 £4.81
Apprentices aged 19 and over (but in the first year of their apprenticeship) £4.81
From 3 April 2022, the weekly rate of statutory maternity pay/allowance, paternity pay, shared parental pay and adoption pay will increase from £151.97 to £156.66 (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower)
From 6 April 2022:
- The weekly rate of SSP will increase from £96.35 to £99.35.
- The maximum limit for a week's pay (used to calculate statutory redundancy pay and the basic/additional award for unfair dismissal) will increase from £544 to £571.
- The maximum limit for compensation for unfair dismissal will increase from £89,493 to £93,878.
- The minimum basic award for certain unfair dismissals (including health and safety dismissals) increases from £6,634 to £6,959.
National Insurance increase from 6th April 2022
From 6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023 National Insurance contributions will increase by 1.25 percentage points. As has been widely publicised, this is set to be spent on the NHS, health, and social care in the UK.
Right to work checks and digital identification from 6th April
The Home Office has announced that from 6 April 2022, the right to work of those who hold a biometric residence card (BRC), biometric residence permit (BRP) or frontier worker permit (FWP) can only be done online.
Meanwhile, employers can use identification document validation technology (IDVT) service providers to digitally verify the identity of British and Irish citizens with valid passports (or Irish passport cards) when carrying out the necessary right to work checks. The Code of practice on preventing illegal working: Civil penalty scheme for employers has been amended to reflect the change.
The Immigration (Restrictions on Employment and Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Requirements and Codes of Practice) provide for the use of IDVT service providers from 6th April. The amendments to the Code of practice on preventing illegal working: Civil penalty scheme for employers include essential guidance for employers using an IDVT.
As reported in Emplaw Monthly last month the Home Office code of practice on avoiding discrimination while preventing illegal working is also amended with effect from 6th April
The Immigration (Restrictions on Employment and Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Requirements and Codes of Practice) and Licensing Act 2003 (Personal and Premises Licences) (Forms), etc., Regulations 2022 (legislation.gov.uk)
Digital Sick Notes from 6th April 2022
The Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/298) encourage digital issuing of sick notes by removing the requirement for a doctor’s statement to be completed in ink or for it to be signed by the doctor providing the statement. The doctor’s name must still be set out. The Regulations set out an additional version of the form to reflect these changes. The existing version of the form can still be used.
Eight steps to deliver better inclusion, fairness, opportunity, and value in the workplace
Leaders as Change Agents (LACA), has published a guide setting out 8 tangible commitments for adoption as the cornerstone of a better workplace. LACA is a volunteer business-led government-sponsored committee established in 2019.
The eight commitments are identified as:
- Empowerment and choice: employees feel empowered in their roles, and are given opportunities to grow and contribute to the organisation's success
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion: ensuring employees know that their leaders and colleagues fundamentally respect them, their backgrounds, and their opinions
- Growth and development: supporting employees in developing their skills and career
- Commitment and engagement: policies and strategy reflect that employers are committed to their employees and the communities in which they operate
- Participation in decisions: giving employees the opportunity to be involved, make suggestions, think up new products or service innovations
- Work-life balance: helping employees to balance family, life events and needs outside the workplace and minimising stress
- Fairness: treating each employee with the same regard and consideration and making workplace guidelines clear and enforceable
- Recognition and reward: for every employee, recognition should be regular and used to reinforce positive, desired behaviours
The Chancellor's Spring Statement
Who will benefit and who will lose out, including employers and workers.
Help for workers from Ukraine
Useful guidance for employers seeking to support their workers during the Ukraine crisis plus migration tips for employers. Note however that the situation is frequently changing and updates will be found on government websites.
Response to the report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
The government has published a detailed response which indicates that mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting will not be introduced but a package of other measures will.
As reported in Emplaw Monthly, The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities issued its report in April 2021. The Commission was set up in 2020 by the Prime minister to consider the state of race relations and to examine why so many disparities exist. It was led by Dr Tony Sewell.
The Government’s Response includes an Action plan and a commitment to report back to Parliament in 12 months’ time on the progress made in delivering those actions. The Actions are targeted at addressing disparities in the healthcare, education, and criminal justice system as well as in the workplace. Some of the Actions, relevant to the workplace, include:
- Support for employers with voluntary ethnic pay gap reporting. This will include guidance to employers on voluntary ethnicity pay reporting in summer 2022, which will include case studies of those companies who are already reporting. The Response states that the Government wants to avoid imposing new reporting burdens on businesses as they recover from the pandemic.
- An ‘Inclusion at Work Panel’ will be established to help tackle bias and ensure fairness in the workplace, by developing and disseminating effective resources to help employers. It will include a programme of research and workplace trials to provide a robust evidence base and root out poor quality training.
- The Government Equalities Office will create new updated guidance on positive action by December 2022.
- The Government will develop a new scheme for employers to provide an evidenced framework for improving race equality and progression in the workplace. Organisations will be able to sign-up to the scheme voluntarily, to be live by autumn 2023.
- Additional funding for EHRC enforcement activity to challenge race discrimination through investigations and supporting individual cases.
- The Government will commission a new Ethnicity Pay Gap research project to consider the scale and causes of the ethnicity pay gap across the NHS and produce actionable recommendations on how to reduce it.
- To increase the numbers of young ethnic minorities in apprenticeships, the DfE is, since November 2021, working with DWP and partner bodies and employers to engage directly with young people across the country to promote apprenticeships.
- The DfE will invest up to £75 million to deliver a state scholarship programme to help high-achieving, disadvantaged students to reach their full potential whilst studying in higher education, including degree courses or apprenticeships.
- The DWP will roll out a new in-work support offer to every Jobcentre from April 2022. The new programme will appoint 37 new Progression Champions to deliver specialist support to Jobcentres and develop tailored progression plans to support working claimants to climb the career ladder.
- The Government will work with the Judicial Diversity Forum to broaden the diversity of the judiciary, by increasing the pool of applicants and in delivering the MoJ’s commitments set out in its 2022 action plan.
- To address the potential risks and opportunities presented by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, the Office for AI will develop the national position on governing and regulating AI, and set this out in a White Paper. This will include how to address potential racial bias in algorithmic decision-making.
LGBT+ Business Champion issues call to engage: inclusion at work
The government's LGBT+ Business Champion, Iain Anderson, has issued a call for global and UK-based organisations to provide examples of how they are improving LGBT+ inclusivity in their workplace and wider environment. The consultation closes on 28 April 2022.
SRA proposes rules to require law firms to challenge bullying
The Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority is consulting on proposed explicit obligations in the Codes of Conduct for both firms and individuals to treat colleagues fairly and with respect, and not to engage in bullying, harassment, and unfair discrimination.
It is also proposing changes clarifying that the SRA can take action to manage risks arising from an individual solicitor’s health issues at any point, including at admission stage, and through conditions on a practising certificate or registration. The consultation will end on 27 May 2022.
On 15 March, the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No 3) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/206) came into force which revoke the requirement for mandatory vaccination for health and social care workers in England . The Regulations revoke:
Reflecting that vaccinations are no longer a requirement for care workers, The Department of Health and Social Care has withdrawn its operational guidance on vaccination of care home workers and workers in social care settings other than care homes.
The withdrawal of the mandatory vaccination requirements follows the government consultation seeking views on the revocation of vaccination as a condition of employment (see February’s Emplaw Monthly) . The government published its response to the consultation on 1 March 2022.
Temporary SSP provisions revoked
All remaining non-devolved temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the COVID-19 provisions within the SSP framework expired at midnight on 24 March 2022.
The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/380) (which apply to England, Scotland, and Wales) revoke the provisions which were introduced to deem those self-isolating or shielding to be eligible for SSP (even when they were not ill). The DWP has published a policy paper on the new Regulations.
As reported in last month’s Emplaw Monthly the Covid related SSP rebate scheme is withdrawn from 24th March, and SSP returns to only being payable from day 4 of a period of incapacity.
Wales’ long-term Covid-19 transition from pandemic to endemic
On 4 March 2022, the Welsh Government published Together for a safer future: Wales' long-term COVID-19 transition from pandemic to endemic, setting out its long-term strategy for COVID-19.
Scottish Test and Protect - transition plan
On 15th March, Scotland published its updated Test & Protect plans for the endemic phase of COVID-19, and how the nation will manage the transition to the end steady state. Further information about Scotland’s strategic approach to tackling coronavirus is collated at Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland’s route map .
Northern Ireland – Covid information
Information is collated on the nidirect government services site.