The years 2020 and 2021 were unprecedented in many ways; including in employment law terms, with many sectors barely functioning over the period due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. To compensate for this, we saw the implementation of legislation and policies to aid both employers and employees suffering a loss of income. Now, with the increasing success of the vaccination programme and the ease of restrictions, employees are finally moving back into the workplace, but with the flexibility to work at home if the employer continues to allow. 2022 therefore looks set to be the start of new normal for the workplace.
We set out below some of the updates and changes that we have seen so far this year:
|The Investment Firms Prudential Regime (IFPR) came into force which will impact, among other things, how investment firms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority manage staff remuneration.
|The appeal against the EAT decision in Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd -v- Kocur and others, was heard by the Court of Appeal. The decision made by the EAT was that agency workers were not entitled to apply and be considered for vacancies on the same terms as directly recruited employees. The Court of Appeal upheld the EAT’s decision and confirmed that Regulation 13(1) of the Agency Worker Regulations 2010 (which was the primary legislation under consideration by the court) is limited to a right to be notified of any relevant vacancies but does not extend to a right to apply and/or to be considered for the post notified.
|The appeal against the EAT decision in Mercer -v- Alternative Future Group Ltd, was heard by the Court of Appeal. The original decision made by the EAT determined that protection from detriment for participating in strike action afforded to employees taking part in industrial action and/ or other trade union activities, should be included in the domestic statutory protection, (s. 146 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992), as it is under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal have held that s.146 does not provide this protection and it was not appropriate for the courts to interpret s.146 purposively and to add the wording of Article 11.
|In Smith -v- Pimlico Plumbers Ltd the Court of Appeal has held that a worker does have a right to payment for annual leave if they have taken the leave and not been paid for it. The appeal further allowed the worker the right to payment for annual leave taken unpaid for every year that he had taken it, regardless of there being a gap of more than 3 months between each block of leave. More on this in our article below: “Holiday Pay: Court of Appeal allows worker’s appeal in their claim against Pimlico Plumbers Ltd”
|The provisions made for Covid-19 within Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”) and Employment and Support Allowance regulations were removed. Therefore those who have to self-isolate because they have tested positive, or have been told to isolate by a doctor, and are as result not able to work will no longer be able to claim SSP. However, if Covid-19 makes you too unwell to work you will still be allowed to claim SSP under the normal conditions of entitlement. SSP is also no longer payable from day 1 of reported sickness, reverting back to the original position of being payable from day 4. Employers are no longer able to submit claims under the SSP Rebate Scheme which allowed employers to claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP paid to any of their employees because of Covid-19.
April brought about various increases in the rates of National Minimum Wage, Statutory Redundancy Pay, and more, as well as the limit for certain employment claims. We have highlighted the key updates below but a comprehensive guide can be found in our “Employment Data 2022” booklet.
We were proud and excited last month to publish the first hard copy edition of our yearly booklet since the Covid-19 pandemic began. In addition to listing all of the new rates and limits, it provides an up to date and concise overview of employment rights, policies and requirements affecting both employers and employees. A copy of the booklet has been distributed to all those on our mailing list. If you have not yet received your copy, please contact us and one will be sent to you straight away.
|Minimum wage and national living wage rates increased: Adult rate (national living wage) (worker aged 23+) £9.50 per hour Adult rate (worker aged 21 – 22 inclusive) £9.18 per hour Development (worker aged 18 – 20 inclusive) rate £6.83 per hour Young workers’ (under 18) rate £4.81 per hour Apprentices under 19 or in first year of apprenticeship £4.81 per hour Maximum off-set for accommodation £8.70 per day
|Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increased to £156.66 per month.
|The Statutory Sick Pay rate increased to £99.35 per week.
|The limit on the value of a week’s pay used to calculate a Statutory Redundancy payment against an employees’ age and length of service has increased to £571 per week.
|The maximum award for a successful claim of Unfair Dismissal has increased:Basic award: £17,130Compensatory award: £93,878 or if lower, 52 weeks’ gross payAdditional award for failure to re-engage or reinstate: £14,846 – £29,692 (i.e. 26 – 52 week’s pay)
|Digital legal right-to-work checks introduced, to be provided by certified identity service providers. More on this in our article below: “Identity Document Validation Technology – the new scheme for Legal Right to Work ID checks”.
|The Queen’s speech highlighted 4 bills relevant to employment;Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill, which will give UK ports the authority to deny entry to ships if their crew is paid less than the National Minimum Wage. Modern Slavery Bill, which will make it compulsory for companies to publish an annual statement on the government website, addressing steps they have taken or are taking to prevent modern slavery. This is applicable to companies with an annual turnover in excess of £36 million.Brexit Freedoms Bill, which will give the government the power to make changes to laws inherited from the EU without having to hold a vote in Parliament.Data Reform Bill, which attempts to address the issue of excess paperwork generated for businesses, encouraged by GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 requirements. The bill will try to move towards an outcomes-focused approach rather than a box ticking approach. The Queen’s Speech was unfortunately quiet on the subject of Employment Bill, first introduced in August 2021, therefore it is unlikely the Bill will come into force this year. As soon as parliamentary time allows the Bill will seek to include information on the following topics:The establishment of a single state enforcement body, responsible for enforcing new minimum wage requirements.Extending periods of redundancy protection for those on maternity leave.Discussing a right to be paid neonatal leave and pay.Discussing a right to a week’s unpaid leave for carers each year.New requirement for employers to pass on all tips, gratuities and service charges to employees (more in this below in our article “Tips on Tipping: Changes Coming to the Hospitality Sector”.Discussing the right for those who work variable hours to request a stable contract after 26 weeks.New legislation which will include a duty for employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and introducing new protection for employers and workers against third party harassment.
|There will be an extra bank holiday to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. More on this in our article below: “Are Your Employees Entitled to Take Time Off for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday?”
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