It’s almost that time of the year again..! Not only does April mark the end of one tax year and the start of the next, but it’s also when important annual employment law updates come into force.
From increases to statutory rates of pay, to the end of certain COVID-19 legal obligations, we’ve rounded up the key employment law changes your business needs to know about this April.
- April 2022: Increase to National Insurance Contributions
- 1 April 2022: National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates increase
- 1 April 2022: Requirement to explicitly consider COVID-19 in health and safety risk assessments ends
- 3 April 2022: Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement pay rates increase
- 6 April 2022: Increase to statutory sick pay
- 6 April 2022: Increase to statutory redundancy pay cap
- 6 April 2022: Increase to compensation for unfair dismissal
- 6 April 2022: Changes to right to work checks
April 2022: Increase to National Insurance Contributions
From April 2022, a temporary 1.25% increase to National Insurance Contributions will apply for the 2022/23 tax year to fund social care. This will be replaced by a permanent 1.25% Health and Social Care Levy from April 2023.
1 April 2022: National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates increase
On 1 April 2022, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) are increasing as follows:
- NLW rate for 23+ year olds: £9.50 per hour
- NMW rate for 21-22 year olds: £9.18 per hour
- NMW rate for 18-20 year olds: £6.83 per hour
- NMW rate for 16-17 year olds: £4.81 per hour
- NMW rate for apprentices: £4.81 per hour
For guidance about which of your staff are entitled to the national minimum wage or the national living wage, see our Q&A on Staff pay.
1 April 2022: Requirement to explicitly consider COVID-19 in health and safety risk assessments ends
From 1 April 2022, the current requirement for businesses to explicitly consider COVID-19 risks as part of their health and safety risk assessments will end. However, employers will remain responsible for mitigating COVID-19 risks as appropriate to their workplace circumstances. You should also continue to consider how you can protect staff who are at higher risk of COVID–19, such as pregnant staff and those with a weakened immune system. The Government has advised that new health and safety guidance on how to do so will be released from 1 April.
For further guidance, see our Q&A on Health and safety when returning to work during coronavirus.
These rates are all increasing from £151.97 per week to £156.66 per week.
6 April 2022: Increase to statutory sick pay
Statutory sick pay (SSP) is increasing from £96.35 per week to £99.35 per week.
6 April 2022: Increase to statutory redundancy pay cap
Whilst the amount of statutory redundancy pay that a business is required to pay depends on the relevant employee’s age, length of service and pay, redundancy payments are capped by reference to a weekly pay amount.
From 6 April 2022, the weekly pay cap is increasing to £571 from £544. This means that the maximum amount a business can be required to pay is increasing to £17,130 from £16,320.
For guidance on calculating redundancy payments, see our Q&A on Redundancy process.
6 April 2022: Increase to compensation for unfair dismissal
Compensation in unfair dismissal claims is split into a ‘basic’ award and a ‘compensatory’ award. The compensatory award is designed to compensate an individual for their loss of earnings up to one year’s gross pay, which is subject to a cap.
From 6 April 2022, the cap for the compensatory award is increasing from £89,493 to £93,878.
For guidance about dealing with legal claims brought by staff, see our Q&A on Legal action by and against staff.
6 April 2022: Changes to right to work checks
From 6 April 2022, employers will no longer be permitted to carry out manual right to work checks for individuals holding a biometric residence card (BRC), biometric residence permit (BRP) or frontier worker permit (FWP). An online right to work check must be carried out for these individuals instead.
The Government has also announced plans to enable employers to use Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) service providers to carry out digital checks on British and Irish citizens holding a valid passport, but who are outside the scope of the Home Office’s online right to work check service. Further details are expected.
For further guidance, see our Q&A on Background checks on job applicants.
Before joining Sparqa Legal as a Senior Legal Editor in 2017, Frankie spent five years training and practising as a corporate disputes and investigations lawyer at leading international law firm Hogan Lovells. As legal insights lead, Frankie regularly contributes to Sparqa Legal’s blog, writing content across employment law, data protection, disputes and more.