Key employment law updates | March 2022

Increases to National Minimum Wage and statutory payments from April 2022

Businesses should be aware of the increases to the National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage which will apply from 1 April 2022:

Category Current rateNew Rate from 1 April 2022
23 and over£8.91£9.50
21 to 22£8.36£9.18
18 to 20£6.56£6.83
Under 18£4.62£4.81

In addition, the following changes to statutory rates of pay will come into effect in April 2022:

Type of pay Effective date Rate
Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay 3 April 2022£156.66 (each week)
Maximum statutory redundancy payment6 April 2022£17,130
Statutory Sick Pay11 April 2022£99.35 (each week)

Increase of limits on tribunal awards from April 2022

The following increases will apply to tribunal awards from 6 April 2022:

Type of tribunal awardCurrent rateRate from 6 April 2022
Statutory limit on a week's pay£544£571
Maximum basic award for unfair dismissal£16,320£17,130
Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal£89,493£93,878
Maximum basic award for certain automatically unfair dismissals£16,320£17,130

Breaking the bias – in practice

March heralded International Women's Day, where the theme this year was "Break the Bias". The aim is to help create a more gender equal world championed by employees and employers. However, is this just another example of virtue signalling using a hashtag, without doing the work on the ground? Possibly…

The TUC reported in February that the gender pay gap means women work for free for nearly two months of the year, so there is clearly still work to do to address the gender pay gap. Employers stand to benefit from ensuring gender equality in their businesses as it can create a better environment to work in, more efficient and content staff, and ultimately may translate into increased profits.

So, what can businesses do to make a real change? We've set out some suggestions below:

  • Ensure adequate policies and procedures are in place – e.g. a menopause policy or adequate flexible working practices.
    • Ensure family friendly policies are clear and easily available
    • Make employees aware of the bullying and harassment procedures/policies and consider introducing an anonymous reporting platform.
    • Ensure diversity in interview panels.
    • Complete an Equal Pay audit each year and tie it into Gender Pay Gap reporting.
    • Appropriately train managers to help spot any issues/bias that may be operating.
    • Publish salary details on all job adverts. The government is advocating this as part of its pay transparency pilot – for further details of this initiative, please see below.

Breaking down barriers for women - Government launches pay transparency pilot

On International Women's Day, the government launched an initiative to level up employment opportunities for women. The initiative aims to improve pay transparency in the job application process and help businesses to recruit women into their vacancies.

As part of the initiative, participating employers will run pilots aimed at closing salary gaps by publishing salaries on all job adverts. The government reports that that listing salary ranges on a job advert and not requesting applicants to disclose salary history makes it easier for women to negotiate pay on a fairer basis, which will in turn impact the closure of the pay gaps.

The government will also launch a new "returners" programme which will run for a minimum of two years and has been created to support women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) roles after they have taken time out to care for loved ones. The support plan to help women returning to STEM careers is designed to assist in keeping talented minds in STEM and improve representation.

PPE for workers – new regulations

Businesses need to be aware that The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 ("PPER 2022") will come into force from 6 April 2022. This extends the rights under the PPER 1992 regulations to include limb (b) workers (workers who generally have a more casual employment relationship and work under a contract for service rather than a contract of employment).

The duties themselves remain unchanged but are extended. Employers should therefore note that they need to ensure appropriate PPE is provided to employees and workers. The workers themselves are also responsible for using the PPE properly, following training and instruction from the employer.