Key employment law updates | January 2022

CIPD calls for increase to statutory sick pay to match national wage

The CIPD, in a new report, has called for reform of statutory sick pay (SSP) with the aim of better protecting vulnerable employees. The report also includes a survey of 1,000 employers to hear their thoughts. A notable feature includes raising the level of SSP to be at least equivalent to the national minimum wage. Increasingly, 62% of those surveyed agreed that the current level of SSP is too low and should be increased, this included 57% of small and medium size employers. The reports states that the pandemic has highlighted the inadequacy of SSP and it is reported that 5.6 million workers are currently unable to access SSP. The report has recommended that further consultation should take place.

You can read the full report here.

The Government launches consultation on disability workforce reporting

On 16 December 2021, a consultation was launched on disability workforce reporting by the Minister for Disabled People. The aim is to further explore disability workforce reporting for large employers with 250 or more employees and will be aimed at both employers and disabled employees throughout the UK. The consultation closes on 25 March 2022 and a response is promised to be published by 17 June 2022.

The responses will be used to:

  • Understand the current reporting practices and what works well
  • The case for and against implementing a mandatory approach to reporting as it is recognised that evidence of use of the voluntary system is limited
  • How a mandated approach to reporting might be implemented, if adopted
  • If there are alternative approaches that could be taken

The Scottish Government discuss the 'right to disconnect' for employees

In August 2021, research by Autonomy found that the pandemic had caused a hidden epidemic of overtime and it proposed amendments to the Employment Rights Act 1996 to introduce a right to disconnect in the UK.

A right to disconnect has been introduced in European countries such as France, Portugal and Ireland and on 9 December 2021, the Scottish Government committed to having a meaningful discussion as to whether it should provide the same right to employees.

Seasonal Worker rota extended to 2024

The Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced that the Seasonal Worker visa rota route would be extended until 2024.

This visa route enables foreign workers to come to the UK to work in the horticulture sector for up to 6 months to pick both edible and ornamental crops. The Government has also called for the industry to prioritise domestic workers by offering things such as training, career options and wage increases.

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