Employment Law Update – October 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 October 2022 report.

  • Suspensions

In September 2022, Acas published new guidance to advise employers on how to consider and handle staff suspensions at work, specifically during investigations. The guidance covers deciding whether to suspend someone, explains the process for suspending someone, supporting an employee’s mental health during suspension and pay and holiday during suspension.

Acas recommends that suspension should only be used when it is a reasonable way of dealing with the situation (such as while an investigation is carried out and there is a need to protect evidence, witnesses, the business, other staff, or the person being investigated) and there are no appropriate alternatives.

Employers, it advises, should consider each situation carefully before deciding whether to suspend someone. Alternatives to suspension include:

  • Changing shifts, site or working from home.
  • Working with different customers or away from customers.
  • Stopping working with certain systems, tools or on specific tasks.

A suspension may also be appropriate to protect an employee’s health and safety (such as in medical or pregnancy circumstances).

Employers should explain the reason for the suspension, making it clear that it does not mean that it has been decided they have done anything wrong, maintaining pay and benefits, keeping the suspension as short as possible, keeping it confidential wherever possible, and staying in regular contact throughout. The worker should be informed of their suspension in person if possible. It is good practice to allow them to be accompanied at any suspension meeting and for the suspension to be confirmed in writing.

  • Right to work checks

From 1 October 2022, employers will no longer be able to verify that someone is eligible to work in the UK by checking their passport over a video call as the adjusted right to work checks, which were introduced in March 2020 due to the pandemic, come to an end.

Employers will now have three ways of performing a right to work check: a “manual” right to work check, face to face with the candidate, a digital right to work check using the services of an identity service provider, or an online right to work check through the Home Office.

Businesses face unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to five years if they flout the rules.

  • Living Wage

In September 2022, the Living Wage Foundation announced a 10.1% increase in the ‘real’ living wage for UK employees.

The new hourly rate, which considers the true cost of living, has risen from £9.90 to £10.90 across the UK and from £11.05 to £11.95 for employees in London.

The voluntary Living Wage is the minimum rate paid by more than 11,000 employers across the UK. It is different to the National Minimum Wage, which is the legal minimum hourly rate that employers must pay workers aged 23 and over and is currently £9.50 an hour.

Accredited employers are encouraged to implement the new rates as soon as possible, but by 14 May 2023 at the latest.

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

  • Guidance on AI in public services
  • Prisoner alternative English apprenticeships
  • Exit pay for local government staff
  • Case Law
    • Supporting a football club is not a protected philosophical belief
    • Employee who caught COVID-19 two and a half weeks before dismissal was not disabled at the relevant time

To discuss any of the information within this document or to find out more about My People Partner, contact us at KCA

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