With 2022 under way many employers will be trying to plan as best they can for developments that may affect their organisation. With this in mind, here are some employment law matters it will be helpful for employers to have on their radar.
1. Temporary extension of self-certification period
The government has introduced a temporary change which extends the period employees can self-certify their incapacity for work from seven days to 28 days. It means that an employee can self-certify in respect of an absence of 28 days or less that starts at any time during the period 10th December 2021 to 26th January 2022 (inclusive). The temporary change has been made in order to increase GP capacity to support the COVID-19 booster program.
With absences due to coronavirus rising in many organisations, it may also be helpful to bear in mind that the government has announced that the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will be temporarily reintroduced from mid-January 2022. The government has said that further guidance will be available as soon as possible.
If you would like a self-certificate form for use during the temporarily extended self-certification period, or you need employment law advice regarding sickness absence, please contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd.
2. Employment tribunal trends
When it comes to planning ahead and taking pro-active steps to try to reduce the risks employers may face it’s helpful to be aware of employment tribunal trends. So, what’s going on?
Over recent years employment tribunal statistics have generally shown:
- A rise in the number of single employment tribunal claims being brought – this highlights the need to ensure managers are aware of employee rights, the necessity of acting appropriately when dealing with employment law matters and the importance of staying up to date with developments.
- Unfair dismissal and unlawful deductions from wages are claims often faced by employers – each type of complaint has frequently featured as the most common jurisdictional complaint in employment tribunal statistics
When it comes to avoiding such claims it’s helpful to bear in mind that:
- Employees who have two years’ service or more can bring an ordinary unfair dismissal claim. It’s therefore important to act reasonably and follow the correct procedures when dismissing
- There are many claims employees can bring from day one of their employment, these include those for automatic unfair dismissal, that is dismissal for a prohibited reason such as dismissing someone because they are a whistle-blower, they are pregnant or they have asserted a statutory right
- There are only limited circumstances in which employers can properly deduct money from an employee’s wages, so it’s important to seek advice on the facts of the case before taking action. There is no minimum qualifying service required for an employee to be able to make a claim for unlawful deductions from wages.
- Employment tribunals are taking longer to deal with claims – this makes it more important than ever to ensure appropriate and accurate records are kept as memories can fade over time.
We are awaiting the release of the latest employment tribunal statistics and will update employers in due course.
3. Upcoming changes to the law
The government has announced that a number of changes will be made “when parliamentary time allows”, these include:
- Carer’s leave – a new statutory right of up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave per year
- Tipping – measures to ensure tips, gratuities and service charges go to workers in full, that employers distribute tips in a way that is fair and transparent and a right for workers to enforce new measures through employment tribunals
- Sexual harassment – a new pro-active duty to prevent sexual harassment
As it isn’t yet known when changes will be made it’s important for employers to keep an eye out for developments which we will report on in our Legal Updates.
If you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.