April sees a number of updates to employment law, including the annual increase in rates and limits, plus several other developments. Below we summarise the key changes that employers should note:
National minimum wage
From 1 April, the national minimum wage and living wage will increase as follows:
Family-related statutory pay
From 3 April, statutory maternity pay (SMP), paternity (SPP), adoption (SAP) and shared parental pay (SSPP) will increase to £156.66 per week, or 90% of the employee's average earnings, whichever is lower (up from £151.97). Maternity allowance will increase to £156.66 per week from 11 April.
Statutory redundancy pay and unfair dismissal
From 6 April, the week’s pay limit for calculating the basic unfair dismissal award and statutory redundancy payments will increase from £544 to £571.
Statutory sick pay (SSP)
From 11 April, SSP will increase to £99.50 per week. The requirement for fit-to-work notes to be signed in ink will also be removed, enabling notes to be completed digitally
From 1 April 2022, free symptomatic and asymptomatic Covid-19 testing for the general public will end (although the government has confirmed it will continue for NHS workers and those living or working in high-risk settings). If you require employees to test prior to entering the workplace, you may be required to pay for private testing. Employers should review existing policies regarding testing and attending the workplace and consider how the phasing out of testing might impact upon vulnerable employees. There will no longer be an express duty to consider Covid-19 when carrying out workplace risk assessments. The previous Government guidance will cease to apply, and is to be replaced by new guidance to reflect the Living with Covid plan that was published in February. This guidance had not been published at the time of writing.
Gender pay gap reporting
Monday, 4 April is the deadline for all private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay gap information. Public sector employers should have published this information at the end of March. (For more information, please see gov.uk’s Gender Pay Gap Service)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provision
From 6 April, an employer’s duty to provide suitable PPE will be extended to all workers, not just to employees, where there is a health and safety risk to the worker when carrying out their duties.
The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals for England & Wales and Scotland have announced that, for cases which are presented on or after 6 April 2022, the bands for awards for injury to feelings in discrimination cases (‘Vento bands’) will increase as follows:
For further information on how these issues might affect your organisation, please contact Paul Mander or your usual Penningtons Manches Cooper contact.