April is usually the month when the Government introduces new employment legislation and increases to statutory payments, and in recent years has announced its commitment to introducing significant new rights, such as neo-natal leave.
While there are very few big changes this April, employment law remains a fast-moving area of law. In this article we explain the key changes employers need to know about this year and look back at some recent developments.
Employers are no longer able to claim back SSP for coronavirus-related absences or periods of self-isolation after 17 March 2022. The usual SSP rules now apply with employees being entitled to SSP from the fourth qualifying day of absence if they are sick or incapable of work.
On 15 March 2022, the Government revoked the requirement for frontline health and social care staff and staff entering a care home to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
The rates of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, statutory adoption pay, statutory shared parental pay and statutory parental bereavement pay increase from £151.97 to £156.66 per week.
The rate of statutory sick pay increases from £96.35 to £99.35 per week.
The maximum amount of a week’s pay for the purpose of calculating a statutory redundancy payment increases from £544 to £571.
The lower earnings limit for the purpose of calculating primary Class 1 national insurance contributions increases from £120 to £123 per week.
This new tax will be payable from 6 April 2023. For the tax year 2022/2023, the health and social care levy takes the form of an increase in national insurance contributions.
The introduction of a pilot scheme in the creative, digital and construction sectors will allow apprentices to enter a series of arrangements of at least three months’ duration with separate employers, rather than committing to the usual 12 months.
Employers can use government-certified identification document validation technology (IDVT) to check the right to work of UK and Irish citizens who hold a valid passport.
In response to the pandemic, employers could carry out right to work checks by video call and accept scans and photos of documents, rather than the originals. Employers can continue to use these adjusted measures until 30 September 2022, (not 5 April 2022 as previously announced).
Workers who are wrongly labelled as self-employed contractors miss out on holiday pay and may bring claims for backpay. Last summer we reported on the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Pimlico Plumbers v Smith , which denied Mr Smith backpay for untaken holiday because he had not been deterred from taking some time off, even though it was unpaid. This year, the Court of Appeal agreed with Mr Smith that he could still recover backpay for his untaken holiday which accrued while working for the company, even though he did take some time off.
An employee’s practical joke of detonating an explosive pellet next to a contractor’s ear damaged the contractor’s hearing, amongst other injuries. The contractor sued the practical joker’s employer for damages. In Chell v Tarmac Cement & Lime Ltd , the Court of Appeal found that there was not enough of a connection between the prank and the employee’s job to make it fair for the employer to be liable to the contractor for his injuries. The Court of Appeal took into account a number of factors, including that the employee’s work did not involve the use of pellets and that the employer did not authorise its employee’s wrongdoing. It is good practice to have clear site rules warning about inappropriate behaviour and reckless use of equipment.
Agency workers have the right to be notified of job vacancies with the hirer, but this does not go so far as to give agency workers the right to apply for the posts, according to the Court of Appeal in Kocur v Angarad Staffing Solutions Ltd . Mr Kocur had challenged the Royal Mail’s practice of allowing directly employed staff to apply for vacancies before agency staff could apply. The Court of Appeal found the practice was lawful.
The scope of laws protecting employees from detriment for health and safety reasons has been extended to protect workers as well, not just employees.
If you need help with assessing the risk that your contractors may in fact have claims for holiday pay or with any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Liz Pollock in the employment team on 01423 724608 or email email@example.com
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.
Published on 19 April 2022