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New Developments

AVUKE looks at how employment law has evolved, as well as current and revised laws and regulatory standards, as well as resources on legal criteria, checks, and procedures of recruitment; terms and conditions of employment; data protection; vacations, operating hours, and pay; health and safety regulations; and maternal and parental rights. The law governing employment is continually changing. In this report we keep track of the most recent developments in employment law.

Statutory payments

Increases to various statutory compensation thresholds have been proposed for the coming year. The actual value for a week's salary (used to measure compulsory redundancy payments) will rise to £544 per week (from £538 per week) on or after April 6, 2021, for those making redundancies on or after that year. When the effective date of termination is on or after April 6, 2021, the overall compensatory award for wrongful discharge rises to £89,493 (from £88,519).Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental pay increased from £151.20 to £151.97 per week from 4 April. Statutory parental bereavement pay will also be paid at £151.97. 

Health and safety

The government has released the draft Employment Rights Act 1996 (Protection from Detriment in Health and Safety Cases) (Amendment) Order 2021, which would give employees the freedom to not be punished for leaving or refusing to come to work if they fairly think it will place themselves or others in grave or immediate danger, or if they are taking protective measures. Employees' privilege under section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to not be subjected to a disadvantage in such health and safety situations would be extended to cover staff. The Order is currently awaiting Parliamentary approval and is due to come into force on 31 May 2021. 

Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme (CJRS)

The Chancellor announced in the Budget that the Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme (CJRS), which was due to end on 30 April 2021, would be extended until 30 September 2021 across the UK. Until the end of June 2021, the government will continue to finance 80% of an employee's salary subject to a cap for unworked hours. Employers who use the program must pay salaries, NICs, and pension benefits for working hours and only NICs and pension contributions for unworked hours at this period. Employers will be required to commit to furlough pay for unworked hours beginning in July 2021, starting with a 10% donation in July and increasing to a 20% contribution in August until the Scheme closes at the end of September 2021. The government would put in 70% and 60% off the funds, respectively. Employers will now be required to cover both NICs and pension payments on all hours that are not worked. The CJRS scheme's workplace guidance has been revised to reflect the expansion and addition of company donations.

Data protection

The European Commission released its draft adequacy decision for the United Kingdom on February 18th. This is a framework outlined in both the EU and UK versions of the GDPR that allows data to flow easily from the European Economic Area to the UK following Brexit with a “satisfactory” level of data protection regulation, without the need for additional safeguards. If the European Commission grants the full ruling, data transfers from the EEA to the UK will be allowed to proceed without the need for any extra safeguards.

Gender pay gap reporting

Employers with 250 or more jobs on the applicable assessment date must disclose their gender pay gap data for 2020/2021, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), unlike last year when implementation of gender pay gap reporting was delayed. Based on an assessment date of 5 April 2020, private employers shall record and post their gender wage difference details and written comment by 4 April 2021. The EHRC, on the other hand, has announced that it would grant employees a six-month grace period before enforcing the law on October 5, 2021. Employees who earned a lower rate of pay as a result of being on leave (for example, family leave) during the pay period in which the snapshot date fell should be omitted from the pay (but not bonus) estimates (the relevant pay period).

Statutory minimum wage increases

The National Living Wage (NLW) will rise from £8.72 to £8.91 per hour on April 1, 2021, for workers aged 23 and over, according to the government whereas it currently applies to those aged 25 and above. From April 1, 2021, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates will also rise:

  • for 21 and 22 year olds, from £8.20 to £8.36 per hour 

  • for 18 to 20 year olds, from £6.45 to £6.56 per hour 

  • for 16 and 17 year olds, from £4.55 to £4.62 per hour 

  • for apprentices, from £4.15 to £4.30 per hour

Right to work checks

Employers can have to perform right-to-work checks on all prospective hires after the implementation of the new immigration system, using a three-stage method of collecting, verifying, and copying applicable identification records, as well as marking the day the search was completed. During COVID-19, there are several temporary modifications in order to make right-to-work tests easier. Employers must obtain the individual's passport or national identification card while performing right to work checks on EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals until 30 June 2021, or if the individual has been given approval under the EU Settlement Scheme, they will exchange proof of right to work using an online service.

There is actually no obligation for EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals working on or before 30 June 2021 to undergo retrospective reviews. Employers should be aware of the potential for harassment if employees are asked to have evidence of settled status by June 30, 2021. The government has yet to release its latest right to work guidance, which will take effect on July 1, 2021.





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