The Employment Bill came into force on the 1st April, and introduced a plethora of new workers’ rights, as well as further obligations for employers.

Brindley Twist Tafft & James (BTTJ) Solicitors shed light on these employment law changes, highlighting one of the most crucial forms of legislation that passed from 1st April surrounds Covid-19.

The previous guidance on voluntary Covid-status certification in domestic settings has been removed, meaning there will is longer a requirement for every employer to explicitly consider Covid-19 in their risk assessments.

BTTJ Solicitors comment that this is perhaps one of the most crucial forms of legislation that has passed.

Also, as employers are under no proactive duty to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, more onus has been placed on employers to avert such occurrences of wrongdoing.

Also from 5th April, the Home Office’s adjusted right-to-work checks regime is due to come to an end, meaning that employers will return to conducting full right-to-work checks using original documentation after that date.

 

Are the new changes enough?

 

Head of Employment at BTTJ Solicitors, Kerry Hudson, commented: “With a host of new employment laws coming into force in the coming weeks it is vital that both employers and employees alike gain a full understanding of the forthcoming legislative changes as they could well bring substantial implications to both entities.

“Whilst many of the incoming changes are clear cut, those such as making vaccinations a mandatory requirement for employees in some sectors, bring uncertainty for employees, especially with regards to those who are under employment yet wish to opt out of being vaccinated. A key issue that could potentially arise will be the risk of potential unfair dismissal and discrimination claims against employees who refuse to be vaccinated.

“Therefore, if employees or organisations do have any concerns regarding the upcoming legislative changes next month, or those that are set to be put in motion over the coming year, then it is vital that you seek the advice of a professional in order to gain a full understanding of how it might affect you either as an employer or an employee.”

 

What other changes to employment law are occurring?

 

There have been a number of key changes to employment law as restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic come to an end.

Both employers and employees are realigning their focus back to their previous ‘normal’, or for some the ‘new normal’.

One of the changes has been the increase to the national living wage from £8.91 to £9.50. Also, statutory sick pay is also set to change from the 6th April, rising from £96.35 per week to £99.35 per week.

Also, from April, organisations with 250 or more employees will also be obligated to publish an annual report containing their gender pay gap data. For public sector employers, the deadline for this was 30th March 2022, with a snapshot date of 31st March 2021, and for private sector employers the deadline is 4th April 2022, with the subsequent snapshot date being 5thApril 2022.

So, what does this mean for HR?

Employers and employees should be aware of the variety of changes these significant employment law changes bring about.