As we enter a new financial year, there are a number of statutory changes which will be coming into effect for businesses and employers to make note of.
So, what are the changes?
National Minimum Wage increases
The rates of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) will increase on 1 April 2022, with hourly rates of the NMW increase from:
- £8.91 to £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over (the national living wage);
- £8.36 to £9.18 for workers aged 21 or 22;
- £6.56 to £6.83 for workers aged 18 to 20;
- £4.62 to £4.81 for workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age; and
- £4.30 to £4.81 for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of the apprenticeship.
Employers should check their current pay rates against the NMW rates and ensure that, where necessary, they increase remuneration for the first pay reference period beginning on or after 1 April 2022.
Gender Pay Gap Report
If you are an employer with a headcount of 250 or more on your ‘snapshot date’, you must comply with gender pay gap reporting regulations.
Organisations have 12 months to publish their gender pay gap figures from the relevant snapshot date – 31 March for the public sector and 5 April for the private and voluntary sectors. Meaning that the gender pay gap reporting deadline is 30 March 2022 for public-sector employers, and 4 April 2022 for private-sector and voluntary-sector employers.
Organisations must publish reports on their website and on the gender pay gap reporting portal on the gov.uk website.
Right To Work Checks
Employers can carry out a document (e.g. passport) check or, depending on the circumstances, use the Home Office online right to work service.
For document checks, original documents must normally be seen, but a temporary relaxation has allowed employers to make checks remotely because of the pandemic. This temporary measure was due to expire on 6 April 2022, but has now been extended to the end of September 2022.
A digital identity-checking service is being introduced so that British and Irish citizens with a valid passport, or Irish passport card, are able to evidence their identity remotely even when the coronavirus relaxation ends. British and Irish citizens cannot evidence their right to work through the Home Office online service, so the employer has to carry out a document check. Employers still have the option of carrying out manual checks of original documents instead.
The new service is provided via certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) providers, acting on behalf of employers. However, employers must ensure that their provider is certified to meet required standards. While the legislation introducing the new arrangements is due to come into effect on 6 April, it is not known if the systems will be up and running by then.
Also, from 6 April, holders of a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit have to use the Home Office online service to evidence their right to work. Physical cards are no longer acceptable for right to work checks.
The extension of the IR35 rules on off-payroll working to the private sector took effect last April. However, HMRC stated that it would be taking a light touch to enforcement penalties during the first 12 months of the new rules unless it had evidence of deliberate non-compliance. This grace period ends this April.
Statutory Redundancy Pay Calculations
New limits on employment statutory redundancy pay come into force on 6 April 2022.
Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age.
The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount, which is £571 from 6 April 2022 (increasing from £544).
Increase statutory family-related pay and sick pay
The weekly rates of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and parental bereavement pay increase to £156.66, up from £151.97. The increase takes effect on the first Sunday in April, which in 2022 is 3 April.
The weekly rate of statutory sick pay also rises on 6 April 2022. The new rate is £99.35, up from £96.35.
It is up to employers to ensure that staff on maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement leave, and sick leave is paid these statutory minimum rates.