Employment Law Update – Summary May 2022

One of the benefits for being a member of My People Partner is that you receive an in-depth Employment Law Update at the start of every month.  What follows is a summary of the May 2022 report.

Go to My People Partner for more information on the programme or for advice on employment law and HR matters.

Covid-19

  • UKHSA Guidance 1st April 2022 – the UK Health Security Agency published guidance for employers and workforce managers in England on reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, in the workplace – see Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) for more information and please note that this replaces the working safely guidance and supplements the new public health guidance also issued by the UKHSA on 1 April 2022.
  • HSE Workplace Advice 31st March 2022 – revised advice has been published – see Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Advice for workplaces (hse.gov.uk) for details
  • Testing – free testing ended from the 1st April 2022 for the majority of people.  Updated information on who is eligible for a free test is available on the NHS website – Changes to testing for COVID-19 in England – NHS (www.nhs.uk).
  • Health and social care settings – from 1st April 2022 theUK Health Security Agency announced the withdrawal of guidance and testing in England for anyone working in adult social care who is not part of regular testing at work, homecare workers, adult day care centres, adult care homes and extra care and supported living settings.  From 4th April 2022, providers should instead refer to  Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care services – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).  The guidance is for staff and managers in healthcare settings. It includes guidance for patient-facing healthcare staff if they develop symptoms of a respiratory infection (including COVID-19), receive a positive COVID-19 test result or are a contact of a confirmed COVID-19.

NMW and NLW rates to apply from April 2023

On 28th March 2022, the Low Pay Commission opened a consultation Low Pay Commission consultation 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) seeking views on the national minimum wage (NMW) and national living wage (NLW) rates that should apply from April 2023. The consultation will close on 20th June 2022.

Its main concern is to gather evidence on the effects on employers and workers of the recent increases in the NMW and NLW. It is seeking views on business conditions and the economic outlook in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the support measures the government has implemented in response to it. This year, it is particularly interested in:

  • The affordability and effects of increasing the NLW from April 2023 to a rate of £10.32 (within a range of £10.14 to £10.50), which is the LPC’s current central projection, although various factors make the rate more difficult to predict than in previous years.
  • Views on the NLW pathway to 2024, by which time the age threshold for the NLW is due to come down to 21. Based on forecasts, the LPC’s current central projection for the April 2024 NLW rate is £10.95 (within a range of £10.58 to £11.33).
  • The effects of recent increases in the NLW and other rates and their impacts in particular on employment and hours, pay and benefits, productivity, prices and profits.

The government normally increases the NMW and NLW in line with the LPC’s recommendations.

Fire and Rehire

On 29th March 2022, the government announced that it will be issuing a Statutory Code of Practice to address “fire and rehire” practices to bring about changes to employees’ terms and conditions. This will detail how businesses must hold fair, transparent and meaningful consultations on proposed changes to employment terms. The code will include practical steps that employers should follow. Tribunals and courts will be required to take the code into account when considering relevant cases, including unfair dismissal. They will have the power to apply an uplift of up to 25% of an employee’s compensation where the code applies, and the employer unreasonably fails to follow it.

Members of the My People Partner programme also received information relating to:


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