One of the things that makes employment law such a complex area is the fact that it is constantly evolving to keep up with the modern world of work, and the people that shape it.
For this reason, working with a law firm with an extensive background in employment law is essential for any employer. The complexities and changeability of employment law demands a specialised approach, which is why highly regarded firms Willans Solicitors of Cheltenham are so valuable to employers. Protecting your employees, and your business’ interests, means taking a proactive approach to mastering employment law.
The Employment Bill
Some of the most significant changes expected in 2022 will be ushered in by the passing through of the Employment Bill.
Under this bill, restaurant, café, and pub owners will no longer be permitted to retain tips and service charges for staff.
It has also been proposed that employees who inform their employer that they are pregnant are protected against redundancy. Under this, employees returning from maternity leave should be protected against redundancy for six months (from the point of return). There are also plans to extend neonatal leave and pay to up to twelve weeks.
What’s more, agency workers or staff on zero-hour contracts will be within their rights to request a contract with more stable, predictable hours (along with a minimum for guaranteed hours, and fixed days of work) after 26 weeks’ service. This is known as the ‘Good Work’ agenda.
A single market enforcement agency will also be introduced to ensure that vulnerable workers have access to the proper education on their rights – from matters concerning sick pay and annual leave to anti-slavery and the enforcement of unpaid tribunal awards.
Finally, unpaid carers will have a ‘day one right’ to one week’s leave.
Many companies were forced to embrace remote or hybrid working policies during the height of the pandemic, and a large portion of those companies have continued to implement a more flexible approach in the months since. Support from employees has been incredibly high, and many claim that they would rather quit than go back into the office.
In 2022, flexible or hybrid working policies may become the default – unless the employer has a compelling enough reason for employees to be required to be physically present in the workplace.
A New Ban on Exclusivity Clauses
During the pandemic, exclusivity clauses meant that many employees who were temporarily unable to work during the country’s lockdowns could not find secondary employment elsewhere. This inability to ‘fill the gaps’ in their income could be directly addressed by a ban on exclusivity clauses for anyone earning less than £120 a week.
A new Sexual Harassment law
A new, proactive approach to preventing sexual harassment may be introduced. Employers will be obliged to prevent sexual harassment following ‘all reasonable steps’, which will be introduced when parliamentary time allows. This comes in response to a consultation launched by the government in July 2019.
The Right to Work Check Process
As of April 2022, employers will be required to utilise an online service in order to verify a prospective employee’s legal right to work. Previously, employers could accept physical biometric cards (BRC, BRP, and FWP), and the providers of these cards were permitted to choose how they proved their right to work.
These are just a handful of changes expected to take place within employment law in the coming months, but all promise continued transformation for the world of work.