It’s that time of year again… Employment law changes in April 2022

Another year; another raft of changes to employment law. Thankfully, given the challenges that last couple of years has presented, the changes could be considered to be relatively uncontroversial.

We have set out some of the key changes below:

Increases to the UK National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

From 1st April 2022, the new hourly rates are as follows:

  • Age 23 and over – £9.50 (the National Living Wage)
  • Age 21-22 – £9.18 (the Standard Adult Rate)
  • Age 18 – 20 – £6.83 (the Development Rate)
  • Age 16-17 – £4.81 (the Apprentice Rate)

In addition, if an employer provides a worker with accommodation, some of its value can be counted towards the National Minimum Wage (referred to as the ‘accommodation offset’). An employer cannot deduct more than the accommodation offset from the worker’s minimum wage figure. The accommodation offset is £8.70 per day from 1st April 2022.

Increases to other employment limits and statutory payments

Other limits and statutory payments will be increased as follows:

Unfair dismissal compensatory award

The compensatory award in the vast majority of unfair dismissal cases is subject to a statutory upper limit or “cap”. From 6th April 2022, the cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal increased from £89,493 to £93,878. 

Statutory redundancy pay

 From 6th April 2022, the limit on a statutory week’s pay increased to £571 (from £544). This means that the maximum statutory redundancy payment will now be £17,130.

Statutory sick pay

From 6th April 2022, SSP will go up from £96.35 to £99.35 per week.

‘Vento bands’

 The ‘Vento bands’, which provide guidelines for the amount of compensation to be given for injured feelings in discrimination claims have increased for claims presented on or after 6th April 2022, as follows:

  • The lower band (for less serious cases) – £9,900
  • The middle band (for serious cases, which do not merit an award in the highest band) – £29,600
  • The upper band (the most serious cases) – £49,300

 Family related benefits

 From 3rd April 2022, the prescribed rate of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay will be £156.66 per week.

Digital ‘fit notes’

The government has introduced the Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) Regulations 2022, which came into force on 6th April 2022.

In brief, these new regulations remove the need for fit notes (or ‘sick notes’ for those who have been around for a while) to be signed in ink. As such, fit notes can now be issued digitally. The regulations have also prescribed a new form of fit note which will be used alongside the current familiar form. That said, for obvious reasons, the new fit note form will no longer have a signature box.

 Darren Tibble, Partner

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