19th May 2022
As an employer it is essential to stay up to date about changes that affect your people, their pay and their rights. Here Laura Knight, solicitor in the Thrings Employment Team, rounds up information on some recent updates.
1. Sick pay, maternity pay and other benefits have increased.
From 6 April the following increases applied to statutory benefits payments:
2. The National Minimum Wage has gone up
National Minimum Wage (NMW), National Living Wage (NLW) and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) all increased from 1 April 2022.
The NLW for workers aged 23 and over have risen from £8.91 to £9.50. NMW rates have also increased as follows:
National Insurance Contributions have increased by 1.25% for most workers in order to increase funding for the NHS and the social care sector.
3. New limits on Statutory Redundancy Pay
New limits on employment statutory redundancy pay came into force in April 2022. Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age.
The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount, which is £571 (increased from £544).
4. Updates to Data Protection
The Information Commissioner’s office is due to issue updated employment practices guidance in 2022. This will replace its employment practices code, which has not been updated since the Data Protection Act 2018, and will cover topics including recruitment and selection, employment records, monitoring of workers, and information about workers' health.
5. Ethnicity and disability equal pay gap reporting is probably on the way
This year it is possible that we will see movement towards the much-discussed introduction of ethnicity pay gap reporting. While a report published in March 2021 by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities did not support the introduction of compulsory ethnicity pay gap reporting, calls for increased regulation in this area remain. The first step, which could be seen this year, may be the publication of guidance for employers to report on a voluntary basis.
A consultation on the potential introduction of disability pay gap reporting is also currently under way. The government’s response is due to be published by June.
6. Right to work checks have changed
Employers can carry out a document check or, depending on the circumstances, use the Home Office’s online right to work service. For document checks, original documents must normally be seen but a temporary relaxation has allowed employers to make checks remotely because of the pandemic. This temporary measure was due to expire on 6 April 2022 but has been extended to the end of September 2022.
Some individuals (British and Irish citizens) cannot evidence their right to work through the Home Office online service so the employer has to carry out a document check. A digital identity checking service was introduced on 6 April which allows British and Irish citizens with a valid passport or Irish passport card to evidence their identity remotely even when the coronavirus relaxation ends. Employers still have the option of carrying out manual checks of original documents instead.