The recent pandemic has resulted in mass changes in employment law over the last two years from the implementation of remote working to the possibility of vaccination requirements within the workplace. There are still many changes planned on the way in different areas of employment law which will be taking places this year or later down the line.
There are still many developments that could be underway due to the unpredictability of the global pandemic. Mandatory vaccination remains a possibility if the severity of the virus heavily increases, and the currently ongoing litigation cases against the ‘no jab, no job’ policy that has been implemented by certain employers should also come to a conclusion either in late 2022 or in later years later depending on the speed of tribunal proceedings.
A new employment bill is expected to be published in 2022 which would allow employees to request flexible working from day one of starting their job, though its actual introduction may come at a later time.
The employment bill is also set to introduce new rights to employees with variable work hours for a more stable and predictable contract after 26 weeks service as well as possibly new rights that cover the notice for reasonable work hours and compensation for short-notice shift cancellations.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is set to update their employment practice guidance’s for recruitment and selection, employment records, monitoring of workers, and information about workers’ health.
The national living wage and social care levy
The national living wage is set to rise to £9.50 an hour for workers who are 23 or over from April 2022. The social care levy will also be introduced in April and will result in a 1.25% increase in national insurance contributions. The bill will also introduce tips regulations that will govern the distribution of tips to staff.
Statutory rates of pay
Certain statutory rates of pay are set to increase in April 2022. This mainly concern an increase to statutory sick pay to £99.35 per week, and statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay together with maternity allowance to £156.66 per week.
The Modern Slavery Act is due to be reformed which will likely result in tighter regulation over company supply chain governance, which will likely mean that businesses will need to re-assess their anti-slavery statements.
Gender pay gap reporting is set to be reviewed this year. There is also expected progress to be made towards ethnicity pay reporting and disability reporting based on the consultations and reports surrounding them in 2021.
Workplace sexual harassment
A consultation has been published by the UK government confirming that employers have a new duty to prevent sexual and customer or third-party harassment, meaning that further changes on workplace harassment could be underway with the implementation of the Employment Bill.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)
It is expected that with the introduction of new legislation the government will move to discourage the use of NDAs in employment contracts as well as make it a requirement to provide independent legal advice to employees before they are signed.
The UK government has proposed that they will implement changes which would allow working carers to receive up to 5 days unpaid carer’s leave in order to help them carry out their caring responsibilities. It was also promised that a new right to 12 weeks paid neonatal leave would be introduced for parents whose babies need to spend time in neonatal care units, as well as greater redundancy protection for pregnant employees and maternity returners.