Hot topics in employment law for 2022
Immigration status of the workforce
Challenging decisions may need to be made by employers if the employee or proposed employee has not secured settled status or a right to remain in the UK. Employers also are required to manually check the person’s immigration status as part of the process.
The Government is looking at addressing the impact on childcare responsibilities on women’s employment opportunities by considering reducing the minimum service period prior to being allowed to request flexible working, extending the redundancy protection period enjoyed by mothers on maternity leave to pregnant women and for six months after a mother has returned to work, including those taking adoption and shared parental leave.
An uptake in shared parental leave (SPL)?
Recent case law has suggested that the remuneration criteria and therefore employer obligations in relation to SPL compared to Statutory Maternity Leave and Statutory Adoption Leave are different. The Government is apparently going to consider reforming the SPL system to address the imbalance.
Case law has identified when imposing retirement ages consideration must be given to “promoting inter-generational fairness, facilitating succession planning, and promoting equality and diversity”.
Being fully vaccinated against COVID-19
This is set to become compulsory for all health and social care staff in England who have face-to-face contact with patients. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the requirement to
be vaccinated against COVID-19 will become enforceable from April 2022.
Other key trends for 2022
Redundancies: in light of the Furlough scheme ending and cashflow tightening for businesses, it is anticipated there will more redundancies considered in the first quarter of 2022. A recent tribunal case found that there will rarely be “special circumstances” that will allow employers to avoid liability for not correctly following consultation procedures, so employers must make sure they seek advice on what they must do to put the redundancy procedure in play.
Menopause at work:
The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently upheld a decision of the Tribunal that menopausal symptoms are not a disability and therefore a discrimination claim could not be successful on these grounds. Notwithstanding this, awareness is increasing in the workplace of the impact of the menopause on women at work and the Women and Equalities Committee’s inquiry on the subject will reveal whether legislative changes are required to adequately protect menopausal women from discrimination at work.