Are you prepared? HR Action points for 2022

As well as continuing to deal with existing issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there will be other important employment law developments for HR to deal with within 2022. So here are a few things that HR will need to do to meet its obligations and prepare for the coming year.

1st April 2022 : Comply with national minimum wage increases

The rates for the national minimum wage will increase on 1 April 2022. The hourly rate of the minimum wage will increase from:

  • £8.91 to £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over (the national living wage)
  • £8.36 to £9.18 for workers aged 21 or 22
  • £6.56 to £6.83 for workers aged 18 to 20
  • £4.62 to £4.81 for workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age, and
  • £4.30 to £4.81 for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of the apprenticeship.

Employers should check their pay rates against the forthcoming minimum wage rates and ensure that, where necessary, they increase remuneration for the first pay reference period beginning on or after 1 April 2022.

3rd /6th April 2022: Increase statutory family-related pay and sick pay

The rate of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and parental bereavement pay will increase to £156.66, up from £151.97. The increase normally takes effect on the first Sunday in April, which in 2022 is 3rd April.

The rate for statutory sick pay will also rise on 6th April 2022. The new rate will be £99.35, up from £96.35.

It is up to HR to make sure that staff on maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement leave, and staff on sick leave, are paid these statutory minimum rates.

HR professionals also need to review their policies and documents that mention the rates, such as their maternity policies and sickness absence procedures.

6th April 2022: Keep track of temporary right-to-work checks guidance

From 30th March 2020, temporary guidance on right-to-work checks has been in place to allow employers to conduct checks without seeing the individual face to face. Checks can be carried out via video and scanned or photo versions of the original required documents can be used.

Employers have a defence against a civil penalty if they complete a right-to-work check in accordance with the temporary adjustments. As long as employers followed the temporary guidance, they are not expected to carry out face-to-face checks retrospectively.

However, these temporary measures are due to last only until 5th April 2022. Employers should look out for new guidance on right-to-work checks that will apply from 6th April 2022 (although it is possible that the temporary guidance will be extended).

2nd/3rd June 2022 : Manage bank holiday entitlement during platinum jubilee

The government has announced an additional bank holiday in 2022 (Friday 3rd June), to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee. In addition, the late May bank holiday has been moved to Thursday 2nd June.

This means that employers face the unusual situation of there being two back-to-back bank holidays in June 2022.

Employers need to look at how they will approach the additional bank holiday. This will be determined to some extent by the wording in employees’ contracts of employment. For example, where the contract entitles employees to take leave on “all bank and public holidays”, the employer will be required to grant the extra day as leave.

Even if the employer is not contractually obliged to grant the extra day as leave, it may choose to do so as a goodwill gesture to employees (for example in reward of their hard work during the pandemic).

Employers need to plan well in advance for potential staffing issues. They may need extra staff if their business will be particularly busy on those days and they may see a spike in requests for annual leave around this time.

What is an employee’s holiday entitlement if an extra bank holiday is granted one year?

If an employee’s contract states that their holiday entitlement is a certain number of days “plus eight bank holidays” are they entitled to an extra bank holiday that is granted one year ?

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