Helen Coombes Joanna Mackey April 6 2022 Employment law changes in April 2022 Lewis Silkin LLP | Employment & Immigration - United Kingdom Helen Coombes, Joanna Mackey Employment & Immigration Covid-19 guidance in EnglandIncreases to UK national minimum wage and national living wageIncreases to other employment limits and statutory paymentsIntroduction of social care levyIntroduction of paid parental bereavement leave in Northern IrelandThere is little legislative change to employment law in April 2022, but new guidance on living with covid-19 is expected to be published and the usual limits and statutory payments have increased.This article provides an overview of the changes.Covid-19 guidance in EnglandUnder the government's Living with Covid strategy (for further details please see "Living with covid-19: what does government's plan mean for the workplace?"), many of the current covid-19 measures ended on 1 April 2022:end of universal free covid-19 testing;employers are no longer obliged to explicitly refer to covid-19 in their health and safety risk assessments;the sector-specific guidance on working safely during coronavirus has been replaced; andthe guidance on self-isolation will also be changed. The new guidance has not yet been published but a government press release suggests that it will advise anyone with symptoms of a respiratory infection and a high temperature or who feels unwell to remain at home until they feel well enough to undertake normal activities and no longer have a high temperature. Anyone receiving a positive covid-19 test result will also be advised to try to stay at home for five days. The new guidance will also recommend that anyone with symptoms or a positive test result who needs to leave their home should avoid close contact with those with weakened immune systems, wear a face covering and avoid crowded places.Increases to UK national minimum wage and national living wageThe government has implemented the Low Pay Commission's recommendations in full, raising minimum rates by between 4.1% and 9.8%. Since 1 April 2022, the following hourly rates have applied:age 23 and over (national living wage) – £9.50;age 21 to 22 – £9.18;age 18 to 20 – £6.83; andage 16 to 17 – £4.81.The accommodation offset will also rise to £8.70 per day.Increases to other employment limits and statutory paymentsOther limits and statutory payments will be increased as follows:family related benefits – on 3 April 2022, the prescribed or flat rate of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay rose from £151.97 to £156.66 per week;statutory sick pay (SSP) – on 6 April 2022, SSP rose from £96.35 to £99.35 per week; however, in England and Wales there are no longer any special rules entitling employees to SSP because of covid-19;England and Wales unfair dismissal/redundancy pay – on 6 April 2022, the limit on a statutory week's pay rose from £544 to £571. This means that the maximum statutory redundancy payment and unfair dismissal basic award are now £17,130. The cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal rose from £89,493 to £93,878;Northern Ireland unfair dismissal/redundancy pay – on 6 April 2022, the limit on a "week's pay" rose from £566 to £594. This means that the maximum statutory redundancy payment and unfair dismissal basic award has risen to £17,820. Meanwhile, the cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal has increased from £89,669 to £94,063; andVento bands – the so-called "Vento bands" operate as the parameters for injury to feelings awards in successful discrimination claims. For claims presented on or after 6 April 2022 in employment tribunals in England or Wales, the new Vento bands will be as follows:lower band – £990 to £9,900 (less serious cases);middle band – £9,900 to £29,600 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); andupper band – £29,600 to £49,300 (the most serious cases), with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £49,300.In Northern Ireland, employment judges will often use the England and Wales Vento bands as a starting point, although they are not required to do so.Introduction of social care levyThe health and social care levy came into force UK-wide on 6 April 2022 and will be collected initially via a 1.25% increase in national insurance contributions for working age employees, the self-employed and employers.Introduction of paid parental bereavement leave in Northern IrelandFrom 6 April 2022, eligible employees are entitled to two weeks' paid leave following the death of a child under 18.(1)For further information on this topic please contact Helen Coombes or Joanna Mackey at Lewis Silkin by telephone (+44 20 7074 8000) or email ([email protected] or j[email protected]). The Lewis Silkin website can be accessed at www.lewissilkin.com.Endnotes(1) Further information is available here.