A brief run through the April 2022 employment law changes
National Minimum Wage
The national living wage has increased from £8.91 to £9.50 per hour (for those aged 23 and over). New rates for the national minimum wage are as follows:-
- NMW 21 to 22 year old rate will increase from £8.36 to £9.18 per hour
- NMW 18 to 20 year old rate will increase from £6.56 to £6.83 per hour
- NMW 16 & 17 year old rate will increase from £4.62 to £4.81 per hour
- NMW apprentices will increase from £4.30 to £4.81 per hour
Statutory sick pay is increasing from £96.35 to £99.35 per week. Statutory maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption pay increases from £151.97 to £156.66 per week.
Health and Social Care Levy
As confirmed by the Spring Budget, from April there is a 1.25% increase in Class 1 primary National Insurance contributions (NIC) rates for employees and Class 1 secondary NIC rates for employers. From April 2023 the increase will be treated separately as a Health and Social Care levy and will also apply to those working above the state pension age.
The money raised will be ring-fenced for health and social care. The UK Government has asked that employers include a message on all relevant pay-slips between 6 April 2022 and 5 April 2023 stating "1.25% uplift in NICs, funds NHS, health & social care". UK Government advice on the levy is available here.
The annual Employment Tribunal award limit changes apply to dismissals occurring on or after 6 April 2022. The limit on compensatory award for unfair dismissal rises from £89,493 to £93,878.
The cap on the compensatory award is the lower of the compensatory award limit or 52 weeks' pay (based on a claimant's gross salary prior to dismissal including employer pension contribution but excluding benefits in kind and discretionary bonus). There are a limited number of exceptions where the cap does not apply. These are dismissals for whistleblowing or for raising certain health and safety issues. In addition, there is no limit to the award that can be made where a dismissal is related to unlawful discrimination.
The limit on a week's pay (used for calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal) increases from £544 to £571 meaning the maximum basic award and maximum statutory redundancy payment increases to £17,130.
Injury to Feelings Awards
The Court of Appeal previously set out guidance for quantifying awards for injury to feelings in discrimination cases, known as the Vento bands. For claims presented on or after 6 April 2022 the bands are as follows:-
- Lower band (less serious cases) - £900 to £9,900
- Middle band (for cases that do not merit an award in the upper band) - £9,900 to £29,600
- Upper band (for most serious cases) - £29,600 to £49,300
Awards of more than £49,300 will only be made in the most exceptional of cases.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
30 March saw the gender pay gap reporting deadline for public sector employers (using 31 March 2021 as a snapshot date). For private companies and voluntary organisations with 250 or more staff the reporting deadline is 4 April (using 5 April 2021 as a snapshot date).
Right to Work Checks
The adjusted procedures for right to work ("RTW") checks introduced in 2020 in response to the practical difficulties involved in checking original identification documents during lockdown were originally announced as being due to come to an end on 5 April. It was intended that Identification Document Validation Technology allowing employers to conduct secure RTW checks remotely would take over from 6 April 2022. However, the adjusted RTW check measures have been extended until the end of September 2022. This is to allow employers to make any necessary changes to their own procedures and develop commercial relationships with identity service providers. One change which is coming into force on 6 April 2022, is the requirement to carry out electronic checks on anyone who holds a biometric residence permit. These checks involve the prospective employee creating an account on the Home Office website and then using a share code to prove their status digitally.
You can also find more information in our Employment Law Fact Card
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