2021 was a year fraught with uncertainty. Many sectors were closed for most of the year, compounding losses and hardships carried forward from 2020. There were, however, notable highlights. The extension of the Furlough Scheme kept many in employment and the Autumn saw widespread returns to workplaces for those able to work from home.
2022 will, hopefully, look very different to the previous two years as we build on the successes of the vaccination and booster programme and with a little luck carefully tread forward into the “new normal” (whatever that may mean). Below we set out what the year ahead holds for employment law and regulation.
The Investment Firms Prudential Regime (IFPR) came into force, impacting amongst other things, how FCA investment firms manage staff remuneration.
The Court of Appeal will hear an appeal against the EAT decision in Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd v Kocur and others, that agency workers are not entitled to apply and be considered for vacancies on the same terms as directly recruited employees.
The Court of Appeal will hear an appeal in Mercer v Alternative Future Group Ltd, in which the EAT held that protection from detriment for having participated in strike action should be included in the statutory protection afforded to employees taking part in industrial action or other trade union activities.
The rates of minimum wage and national living wage will increase. It will become compulsory for frontline NHS staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, and shared parental pay will increase to £156.66 per month.
The rate of Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £99.35 per week.
Gender pay gap figures to be published by private and voluntary sector organisations.
New limits on statutory redundancy pay will come into force.
From this date, right-to-work checks for those with a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit, or frontier worker permit must be done online. In addition, the existing temporary right-to-work checks, allowing for checks to be conducted using video and scanned photos rather than face-to-face, will come to an end.
There will be an additional bank holiday to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Consideration should be given as to whether this day’s holiday will be taken out of an employee’s annual holiday allowance or whether employees are contractually entitled to take this extra day off.
The Government’s response to its consultation on disability workforce reporting (closing in March) is due.
An Employment Bill is anticipated in 2022, which is expected to include:
- The establishment of single state enforcement body, responsible for enforcing minimum wage requirements, amongst other things.
- Extending the redundancy protection period for mothers on maternity leave.
- The right to paid neonatal leave and pay.
- The right to a week’s unpaid leave for carers each year.
- The requirement for employers to pass on tips and service charges to employees.
- The right for those who work variable hours to request a stable contract after 26 weeks.
Legislation is expected on workplace sexual harassment, to include a duty on employers to prevent harassment, and new protections from third-party harassment.
Awaiting judgements from:
- The Court of Appeal in Smith v Pimlico Plumbers Ltd regarding whether unpaid leave can be regarded as leave for the purposes of the Working Time Regulations 1998.
- The EAT in Mackereth v Department for Work and Pensions and another on whether the belief of a Christian doctor that a person cannot chose their gender (and who objected to referring to transgender patients by their chosen pronoun) is compatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others.
- The Supreme Court in Harper Trust v Brazel on whether part-year workers should have their annual leave entitlement capped at 12.07% of annualised hours.
Following on from the spotlight on menopause in the workplace, and an increase in Employment Tribunal cases on this matter in 2021, we expect there to be even more on this topic in 2022. Watch this space for our webinar, coming very soon…