Updated: Jan 8
We've made it through 2021 relatively unscathed - I hope, spent time with family and friends - and now it's time to look forward to what 2022 has to offer. Here's a brief roundup of some of the main changes to look out for in the coming months
The extra bank holiday
Unless you've been hiding under a rock recently - which is not entirely unlikely given the last couple of years - you'll know there's going to be an extra bank holiday this year, to mark the Queen's platinum jubilee. Not only is there an extra bank holiday, the second May bank holiday, which is usually the last Monday in May, has been moved to Thursday 2nd June, right before the extra holiday on Friday 3rd June.
The big question is are your employees entitled to it? You'll need to check the wording in your employment contracts to be sure.
If your contracts say "20 days plus bank holidays", then yes, your employees are entitled to the additional day
If your contracts say "20 days plus 8 bank holidays", your employees are not contractually entitled to the extra bank holiday
If your contracts say "28 days inclusive of bank holidays", then your employees are not entitled to the additional day
If your contracts state a variation of these clauses, or you are simply not sure it's best to get some legal advice.
Another thing you'll need to consider is whether you're going to give your employees the bank holiday off, as a gesture of good will, if in fact they are not entitled to it.
The final point on this topic is that you may well need to manage a deluge of requests for holiday during the first two weeks of June as employees try to make the most of the double bank holiday.
National Minimum Wage Increase
This happens on 1st April every year, so don't be an April fool! If any of your employees are paid at or close to the threshold of the minimum wage, you will need to budget for the increases below:
The national living wage for workers aged 23 or older is increasing from £8.91 to £9.50
For workers aged 21 and 22 the national minimum wage is rising from £8.36 to £9.18
For workers aged 18 to 20 it is rising from £6.56 to £6.83
For workers younger than 18 who no longer have to go to school, it is going up from £4.62 to £4.81
For first year apprentices or under-19s it is changing from £4.30 to £4.81
In addition there are increases to several statutory pay rates in April:
From 3rd April, maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, and parental bereavement pay will each increase from £151.97 to £156.66.
From 6th April sick pay will rise from £96.35 to £99.35
Finally, the statutory redundancy weekly pay cap (currently £544) is also due to increase from 6th April, but won't be announced until February.
Right to Work Checks
During the Covid crisis the strict Right to Work Checks rules were temporarily relaxed which meant that scanned documents and video calls was sufficient. This temporary relaxation of rules is due to end on 5th April 2022. Whilst this may be extended, but there are no plans to do so currently. The penalties for non-compliance can reach up to £20,000, not to mention reputational damage, so make sure your processes are ready for the change.
Edit: Just after this article was written the Government announced that from April 2022 digital right to work checks are to remain digital. We think this is a positive step forward in supporting the HR function with digital processes. Hurrah!
Things to keep an eye on...
The care home sector has introduced a "no jab, no job" law, back in November 2021. Could this be rolled out across other sectors?
The Employment Bill - due for announcement some time in 2022 - is likely to bring about changes to:
Extending redundancy protection for women and new parents
Right to request flexible working from day one of employment
Plans to introduce statutory neonatal leave and pay for parents of babies requiring neonatal care
New right to carer’s leave - plans to legislate an entitlement to carer’s leave for employees as a ‘day one’ right
Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this information, My Office Fairy Ltd cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions and the information is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.
If you need support with anything discussed above, or any other aspect of your business, My Office Fairy are here to help so just get in touch.