April Employment Essentials for HR

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Employment & HR Article

28 March, 2022

April 2022 sees six major changes for employers. It is vital that HR teams familiarise themselves with the updates prior to their enforcement and ensure that its existing policies are compliant and updated with any mandatory obligations. Procedure and policy documents should be subject to regular review, to best reflect the developments within your relevant sector.

Practical advice for employers

1) Prioritise and publish your individual gender pay gap report

Any organisation employing at least 250 members of staff must publish a yearly gender pay gap report. This report is to be uploaded and published on the government website by 31 March 2022 for any public sector organisation or 5 April 2022 for any private or voluntary sector organisation. Accordingly, the submission deadlines will be 30 March 2022 and 4 April 2022. Notably, employers reserve the right to provide a justification for their gender pay gap and/or explain any action that they may be taking to reduce it.

2) Review employee salaries in line with the minimum wage increase

The national living wage and national minimum wage are set to rise from 1 April 2022.

Hourly rate requirements:
Workers 23 and over £8.91 to £9.50
Workers aged 21 and 22 £8.36 to £9.18
Workers aged 18-20 £6.56 to £6.83
Workers under 18 no longer of compulsory school age £4.62 to £4.81
Apprentices under aged 19/ over 19 and in first year of apprenticeship

£4.30 to £4.81

National insurance contributions will similarly increase to 1.25% for both employers and employees, to increase funding and subsidise the NHS and social care sector.

3) Revise policies and documents to reflect the increase in statutory family-related pay and sick pay

The weekly rates of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental, parental bereavement and sick pay are due to rise at the beginning of April. The rates and dates of effect are as follows:

Statutory weekly rate requirements: Effective date Rate
Maternity 3 April 2022 £151.97 to £156.66
Paternity 3 April 2022 £151.97 to £156.66
Adoption 3 April 2022 £151.97 to £156.66
Shared Parental 3 April 2022 £151.97 to £156.66
Parental Bereavement 3 April 2022 £151.97 to £156.66
Sick 6 April 2022

£96.35 to £99.35

Employers have a duty to ensure that all employees are paid in accordance with the new rates. Organisations should review and revise their individual family-leave and sickness absence policies to ensure that they are compliant with and reflect the changes.

4) Review IR35 compliance

The extension of the rules on off-payroll work to the private sector originally took effect on 6 April 2021. HMRC issued confirmation that they would ease enforcement penalties during the introductory 12 months, if there is no clear evidence of deliberate non-compliance.

The responsibility to determine employment status and assessing if IR35 is applicable now resides with the employer.

Prior to the relaxation date expiry (6 April 2022), employers should review employee status to comply with IR35 if applicable. HR should then review this on a regular basis.

5) Right to work check changes from 6 April 2022

All employers should be aware that they must conduct a right to work (RTW) check prior to employing an individual, and carry out follow-up checks where applicable, in order to prevent illegal working. Currently, there are three separate ways to conduct a RTW check and the type of permission to work in the UK can dictate which method employers should use:

  1. Manual check - seeing the physical documents with the individual in person
  2. Online check - some visa categories only permit online checks (e.g. EU settled status), whereas others presently have the option to use a manual check or the online check (e.g. biometric residence permit holders)
  3. Adjusted check - this came into effect in light of the pandemic and permits employers to receive copies of original documents and conduct checks via live video link

The Home Office has continued to extend the deadline for using an adjusted check and has confirmed that they will still be acceptable up to 30 September 2022 (inclusive).

From 6 April, employers will have the option to link up with identity service providers who will use identity verification technology to carry out online checks for British and Irish nationals. This will bring British and Irish nationals into line with overseas migrants as currently the requirement is to see the holder's physical document. The list of certified service providers is yet to be published and it is thought that they can charge a fee per check which might mean that employers prefer to stay with the manual route.

From 6 April, and unlike checks on British and Irish nationals, holders of biometric residence permits, biometric residence cards and frontier worker permits will only be able to evidence their RTW using the online service. Employees will need to activate a share code and employers will be required to access the employer side of the portal to conduct the check. Employers will need the share code and employee's date of birth, and must then retain the "profile" page on file to evidence they have completed the RTW check. Many employers will have noticed when carrying out manual checks that biometric residence permits are only valid until 31 December 2024, despite permission being granted beyond then, due to encryption technology and therefore follow-up checks must be carried out prior to this date. Helpfully, the online check confirms the full visa duration and so removes the additional administrative task of a further check.

6) Update statutory redundancy pay calculations

Employers that dismiss employees on the grounds of redundancy must pay those with two or more years' continuous service an amount to be calculated in accordance with weekly pay, length of service and age. Currently, weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount of £544; this will increase to £571 on 6 April 2022. HR professionals must ensure that they are familiar with this update, to ensure that with any redundancies made after 6 April 2022, entitlement is calculated on the basis of the new maximum amount. Please note if you have an enhanced contractual redundancy scheme then you should continue to pay in accordance with this scheme.

Other updates

PPE

From 6 April 2022, there is a duty on employers to provide and subsidise suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) to all workers. This is a development of the requirement for employers to provide PPE to employees where there is an existing health and safety risk to them when carrying out work for the employer.

Apprenticeships

Three-month apprenticeship arrangements are to be introduced from 6 April 2022. This allows an apprentice to enter into a series of arrangements for a minimum of three months' duration with separate employers. These arrangements must comprise a total of 12 months.

Tribunal Award Increase

From 6 April 2022, the maximum compensatory awards for unfair dismissal will increase as follows:

Compensatory awards
Maximum- unfair dismissal £89,493 to £93,878

Minimum- unfair dismissal

£6,634 to £6,959

State Pension Rate Increase

From 11 April 2022 the state pension rate will increase by 3.1% to £141.85 for basic pension and £185.15 for full pension.

Mandatory Vaccinations

As of 1 April 2022, the government will revoke the mandatory requirement for health and social care staff to be vaccinated against covid-19. This is a pivotal step in the recovery from the pandemic.

For more information contact Andrew Halpin in our Employment department via email or phone on 01772 220 239. Alternatively, send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

For more information contact Andrew Halpin in our Employment & HR department via email or phone on 01772 220239. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Employment & HR department here

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