Employment Law Update Summary – December 2021

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.

Autumn 2021 budget – employment implications

In October, the Autumn 2021 budget was delivered with the following key elements:

  • National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage – from 1st April 2022 these will be increased as follows:
    • NLW for those over 23: from £8.91 to £9.50.
    • NMW for those aged 21 to 22: from £8.36 to £9.18.
    • NMW for those aged 18 to 20: from £6.56 to £6.83.
    • NMW for those aged under 18: from £4.62 to £4.81.
    • Apprentice Rate: from £4.30 to £4.81.
    • Accommodation offset rate: from £8.36 to £8.70.
  • Skills and apprenticeships
    • There will be increased funding for the National Skills Fund to expand the Lifetime Skills Guarantee for adults attending Level 3 courses and Skills Bootcamps.
    • The government will continue to meet 95% of the apprenticeship training cost for employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy.
    • An enhanced recruitment service will be in place by May 2022 and aims to help hire new apprentices for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
    • The Government will consider by April 2022 flexible apprenticeship training models to ensure it continues to meet employers’ needs.
    • It will introduce an ROI (return-on-investment tool) in October 2022 so employers can see the benefits apprentices create in their business.
    • There is an extension of the £3,000 apprentice hiring incentive for employers until 31 January 2022
    • There will be investment in the Sector Based Work Academy Programme (SWAPs) to give unemployed people the opportunity to undertake work experience, learn new skills and retrain into high-demand sectors in their local area.  This is in addition to the £500 million expansion of the government’s Plan for Job initiative announced on 4 October which targets support to workers leaving the furlough scheme, the unemployed aged over 50, the lowest paid and young people.

Covid-19 New Measures

Refer to the UK Government website for up-to-date information relating to Covid-19 measures under the Plan B programme to support the Omicron variant.

New statutory rates of pay from April 2022

The proposed statutory rates 2022 to 2023 have been announced for maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay, parental bereavement pay and sick pay and will take place from April 2022.

  • Statutory Maternity Pay – currently the weekly rate is £151.97, or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate. This is expected to rise to £156.66 from April 2022. The increase normally occurs on the first Sunday in April, which in 2022 is 3 April.
  • Statutory Paternity Pay – following the same timeline, the rates of statutory paternity pay and statutory shared parental pay are expected to go up from £151.97 to £156.66 (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate).
  • Statutory Adoption Pay – is expected to rise from £151.97 to £156.66 from 3 April 2022.  This is payable at 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, with the remainder of the adoption pay period at the rate of £156.66, or 90% of average weekly earnings if this is less than £156.66.
  • Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay – the weekly rate available to employees on parental bereavement leave, is expected to increase from £151.97 to £156.66.
  • Statutory Sick Pay – is also expected to increase from £96.35 to £99.35 on 6 April 2022.

To be entitled to these statutory payments, the employee’s average earnings must be equal to or more than the lower earnings limit, which is expected to go up from £120 to £123.

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

  • ACAS Guidance -onavoiding fire and rehire practices and consider other options when changes are required in employment contracts.
  • Flexible working – a published report to quantify the economic benefits of flexible working has revealed that refusals to accommodate flexible working requests are costing businesses almost £2bn a year.  The report finds that flexible working annually contributed £37bn to the UK economy. It forecast that a 50% increase in flexible working could result in a net economic gain of £55bn for the entire economy, while creating 51,200 new jobs.
  • Pay Inequality – employers are urged to stop asking jobseekers about their previous salaries. This question is faced by almost half of working adults (47%) and affects 61% of women’s confidence to negotiate better pay.
  • Case Law
    • Moped Courier was a Worker
    • Car and uniform rental should have been deducted for National Minimum Wage purposes
    • Time spent undertaking training was working time
    • Employee was not disabled

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

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