What to expect in 2022 and beyond

As normality slowly starts to creep back, let’s take a look at some employment law changes that will be coming our way during the course of 2022 and 2023.

Aspects of the long-awaited Employment Bill continue to be consulted on in Parliament, some of which originated from the Good Work Plan, this includes but is not limited to;

Carers Leave

We will see the introduction of a day one entitlement to statutory carer’s leave for one week. Employees’ right to carers leave will;

  • Rely on the relationship of the employee with the individual being cared for – a spouse, partner, civil partner, child, parent, a person who lives in the same household as the employee (other than by reason of being their employee, tenant etc.) or who reasonably relies on the employee for care.
  • Depend on the individual being cared for having a long-term care need – a disability, long-term illness or injury or issues relating to old age.

Such leave can be taken flexibly, in either full/half days and up to a block of one week. Employee’s will need to seek authorisation by providing their employer with notice, which as a minimum, would need to be twice the length of the leave being requested plus one day.

Flexible Working

Flexible Working will become the default position with making the right to request flexible working a day one right. As it currently stands, an employee must have at least 26 weeks service before they can make a flexible working application Along with this change, there will also be a new requirement for employers to offer an alternative if they cannot accommodate the original request.

Pregnancy & Maternity Discrimination
The Government proposes to extend redundancy protection for women and new parents. The extension will see an added period of redundancy protection for 6months once a new mother has returned to work and it will afford the same protection to those taking adoption leave and/or shared parental leave.

Variable Hours Employees

Employees who work variable hours will have a right to request a more predictable working pattern once they have 26 weeks service. The legislation is proposed to include employees on zero-hours contracts and agency workers.

Neonatal Leave and Pay

The Government has confirmed the introduction of anew statutory entitlement to Neonatal Leave and Pay for up to 12 weeks for parents. Parents of babies which are admitted into hospital as a neonate (28days old or less) will be eligible for Neonatal Leave and Pay if the admission lasts for a continuous period of 7 days or more.

Neonatal Leave will be available to an employee from the first day of employment in their job and entitlement to Statutory Neonatal Pay, like other family-related pay rights, will be available to those employees who meet continuity of service and minimum earnings tests.

Parents who qualify for Neonatal Leave will be afforded the same employment rights and protections as parents taking other relevant family-related leave. This means that they will be protected from detriment or discrimination arising from them taking, or seeking to take, Neonatal Leave. In line with arrangements for other relevant family-related leave, employees who are eligible for Neonatal Leave will also have a right to return to the same job after a period of Neonatal Leave or a combined period of Neonatal and other forms of family-related statutory leave if they are absent from work for a total period of 26 weeks or less (excluding periods of Unpaid Parental Leave of up to 4 weeks).

‍Temporary National Insurance Contribution Increase

With effect from 06 April 2022,National Insurance contributions (Class 1, 1A, 1B and 4 NICs) payable by employees, employers and self-employed individuals will be subject to an additional levy of 1.25% whilst we await the implementation of the Health and Social Care Levy in April 2023.

Statutory Rates of Pay 2022-2023

In April, we will see the increase to the Statutory Rates of Pay;

  • Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay will increase to £156.66 per week.
  • Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £99.35
  • The Lower Earnings Limit will increase to £123 per week

National Minimum Wage increases with effect from 1 April 2022

Aged 23 and above (national living wage rate) £9.50

Aged 21 to 22 inclusive £9.18

Aged 18 to 20 inclusive £6.83

Aged under 18 (but above compulsory school leaving age) £4.81

Apprentices aged under 19 £4.81

Apprentices aged 19 and over, but in the first year of their apprenticeship £4.81

The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.