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Changes to Employment Law Coming Into Effect as of April 2022

March 2022

As usual, there are a number of changes to employment law coming into effect as of April 2022:

• With effect from 1 April 2022, the national minimum wage rates will increase as follows:

National Living Wage (23+) £9.50;

21-22 year old rate £9.18;

18-20 year old rate £6.83;

16-17 year old rate £4.81;

Apprentice rate £4.81; and

Accommodation offset £8.70.

• With effect from 3 April 2022, maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement leave rates are all increasing from £151.97 to £156.66 per week.

• With effect from 6 April 2022, statutory sick pay (SSP) is increasing from £96.35 per week to £99.35 per week.

• From the same date, national insurance contributions will increase by 1.25%. HMRC has asked that payslips include a message stating that the: "1.25% uplift in NICs funds NHS, health & social care." This is in place between 6 April 2022 and 5 April 2023.

• From 6 April, the lower earnings limit is increasing to £123 per week.

• As of 6 April 2022, compensation limits, statutory guarantee payments and the limit on a week's pay for calculating redundancy and unfair dismissal basic awards all increase. The limit on a week’s pay increases significantly, from £544 a week to £571 a week.

• With effect from 6 April 2022, a new form of digital fit notes is being introduced that will remove the requirement for the fit note to be signed in ink by the issuing doctor. The new version of the sick note will contain the name and address of the doctor authorising the form without needing it to be physically signed. The move is intended to take workload pressure off GPs.

Other changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and fit notes include:

- As of 24 March 2022, the SSP qualifying (waiting) days rule was reinstated. As of that date, SSP cannot be claimed from the first day of coronavirus-related incapacity.

- The temporary rules, whereby an employee could self-certify sickness absence for 28 days before an employer could require a doctor’s fit note, have now ended. Employees can now only self-certify sickness absence for the first seven days.

• Finally, from 6 April 2022, the ability to check manually the status of those with a biometric residence card or permit, or frontier work permit, will be removed. As of that date, only online checks will be possible. In order to complete these checks, the employer will need the individual's date of birth and right to work share code. When checking an individual’s right to work, employers can carry out a document check (e.g. a passport check) or use the Home Office online right to work service. In respect of document checks, original documents must normally be seen, but a temporary relaxation of this rule during the peak of the COVID pandemic has allowed employers to make checks remotely. This temporary measure was due to end on 6 April 2022 but has been extended to the end of September 2022.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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