Key changes to expect to employment law in 2022

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Key changes to expect to employment law in 2022

2022 has come around quickly, and with it come a number of employment law changes. Whilst Covid-19 continues to be at the forefront of employment law developments, a number of other key legislative and caselaw changes are expected. We explore this below.


As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the nation, it is unclear whether the government will make any further changes- and if so, when!

From 1 April 2022, having a vaccination will become mandatory for health and social care staff in England who have face-to-face contact with patients and service users, unless they are exempt.

Anecdotally, we found that a number of employers are also introducing measures such as NHS Covid pass policies, mandatory vaccination and cutting sick pay for unvaccinated staff.

It is important that employers consider employees with protected characteristics on a case by case basis, given that employees may seek to bring discrimination claims.

Employers should also keep an eye on Employment Tribunal determinations. This year, a number of first instance and appeal determinations on Covid-19 related issues are expected, including disputes regarding furlough and safety at work.

Tribunals are continuing to experience a considerable backlog of claims, which will inevitably cause delays in determining Covid-19 related issues. Most tribunals have started to reinstate in-person hearings where possible, however the ongoing pandemic may see a continued reliance upon remote technology during 2022.

The Employment Bill

The long-awaited Employment Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019, did not progress as originally expected in 2021. The Bill is scheduled for a second reading on 18 March 2022.

The key reforms promised by the Employment Bill include:

  • Making flexible working the default position.
  • The establishment of a single labour market enforcement agency, responsible for enforcing basic rights for vulnerable workers.
  • Requiring employers to pass on all tips and service charges to their workers.
  • Extending redundancy protection, namely the right to be offered suitable alternative employment, to pregnant employees and for six months after the return from maternity leave, as well as to those taking adoption leave or shared parental leave.
  • A new right for carers to take one week of unpaid statutory leave each year.
  • A new right for parents to take statutory leave of up to 12 weeks for neonatal care.
  • The right for all workers to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service.

Sexual Harassment Legislation

Although the employers defence – that is, “we took all reasonable steps to prevent harassment in the workplace” exists – we anticipate that employers will be under a new duty to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. We envisage that employers will need to show that they have anti-harassment policies in place, together with up-to-date training for their employees. The legislation will also introduce protection against third party harassment, such as customers and clients. Employers will be required to take ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent sexual harassment from occurring.

The scope of this new duty will be clarified by a statutory code of practice, along with guidance for employers. Provision for these changes could be made in the upcoming Employment Bill.

Statutory Rates of Pay and National Minimum Wage

The proposed increases to statutory benefit payments which are expected to apply from April 2022 are as follows:

  • Statutory sick pay will increase to £99.35 per week
  • Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental pay, and maternity allowance will be £156.66 per week
  • The increases to the National Minimum Wage which will apply from 1 April 2022 are as follows:
  • £9.18 per hour for 21 – 22 year olds
  • £6.83 for 18 – 20 year olds
  • £4.81 for 16 – 17 year olds and apprentices

The National Living Wage for workers aged 23 and over will increase to £9.50.

Pay Gap and Workforce Reporting

Gender pay gap reporting deadlines are expected to return to normal this year, after being extended in 2021 to account for disruption caused by Covid-19. For public sector employers, the deadline is 30 March 2022. For private sector employers and voluntary organisations, the deadline is 4 April 2022. The rules governing gender pay gap reporting are also set to be reviewed this year.

The introduction of ethnicity pay gap reporting is also on the horizon, with potential publication of guidance for employers wishing to report on a voluntary basis. Whilst there are calls to make such reporting mandatory, the Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities has recommended that it remains voluntary due to a lack of diversity in some parts of the country.

There is also a government consultation on the introduction of disability workforce reporting on both a voluntary and mandatory basis which is open until 25 March 2022, with a government response expected in June.

Right to Work Checks

Throughout Covid-19, the Home Office adjusted right-to-work checks to account for undertaking these checks remotely. From 5 April 2022, these adjustments will come to an end and employers must return to full right-to-work checks. This entails either carrying out a manual right to work check using original documentation, or an online right to work check using one of the online checking services.

2022 looks promising for employment law developments after some delays due to Covid-19, especially with the prospect of the Employment Bill being introduced. To speak to a solicitor about an employment law issue, you can contact the London Employment Team on 0345 872 6666. You can also fill out our online enquiry form, and a member of the team will call you back promptly.

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