We know the past two years have been busy for everyone and it has been difficult (even for employment lawyers!) to keep up to date with everything. So let us help you out - read on to find out:
- what you need to remember from 2021;
- what's coming in 2022; and
- whether we have a handy, up to date Employment & HR Guide filled with key information [spoiler alert: yes we do].
What did I miss?
Here are five key changes from 2021 which you still need to know about:
1. January 2021: immigration rules changed. A new points based immigration system applies in respect of most workers hired from outside the UK. In most cases, the employer needs a relevant sponsor licence and the employee needs a relevant visa.
2. April 2021: IR35 rules were extended to include the private sector. HMRC said it would take a light touch approach to enforcement penalties for the first 12 months, unless it had evidence of deliberate non-compliance. This grace period is almost at an end and, from April 2022, it will be business as usual. Now is a good time to review your IR35 compliance and workforce/contractor relationships.
3. April 2021: the age threshold for the National Living Wage was permanently reduced from 25 to 23.
4. There were a lot of temporary Covid measures for employers (and employees) to contend with. Most have now been lifted but read on for the bits you still need to know about.
5. A lot of the developments that were originally stated for 2021 were – as with many things – postponed. See our Employment & HR Guide for the latest updates.
Key Covid dates
In addition, there remain some Covid related dates to keep in mind:
1. As most Covid related measures have come to an end, there's no need to go on about them here. A special shoutout to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS") which closed on 30 September 2021. Even though the CJRS has closed businesses still need to keep documentation (including any furlough agreements and CJRS records) for up to six years.
2. 24 February 2022: workers are no longer legally obliged to tell their employers when they are required to self isolate. However, employers and workers should continue to follow any government guidance in place for those with Covid.
3. 17 March 2022: the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme closed for Covid related absences. Employers had until 24 March 2022 to submit/amend any claims.
4. 1 April 2022: the government will replace the existing 'Working Safely' guidance with new public health guidance. Click here if you want to see the full ' Covid 19 Response: Living with Covid 19' roadmap.
5. 1 April 2022: the health and safety requirement for every employer to explicitly consider Covid in their risk assessments will be removed (except where they actually work with Covid). However, employers must continue to comply with their usual health and safety obligations and consider the needs of employees who are at increased risk.
New Employment & HR Guide - Download now
We've updated our Employment & HR Guide!
This quick reference guide is all about the "need to know"s: it sets out key facts and figures (such as National Minimum Wage rates, caps on Tribunal claim awards and notice periods) plus the 'what's to come' in employment law.
It's here to make your life easier – so download it now.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.