Our monthly employment law round up for April 2022.
The spring budget brought little of note for employment lawyers beyond confirming that the Healthcare levy was to proceed as planned with a 1.25% increase in Class 1 primary National Insurance contributions (NIC) rates for employees and Class 1 secondary NIC rates for employers.
UK Government confirm they will not legislate for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting
The UK Government has published a policy paper Inclusive Britain: government response to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in response to the Commissions 2021 report. It confirms that although BEIS is to publish guidance on voluntary ethnicity pay gap reporting this summer, it does not intend to legislate for mandatory reporting while businesses are still recovering from the pandemic. The guidance is intended to give employers tools to understand and tackle pay gaps within their organisations, and will include case studies from companies who are already reporting.
Requirement for fit notes to be signed in ink by issuing doctor to be removed
From 6 April 2022 The Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 will provide for a new form of fit note that no longer contains a signature box. The Regulations also remove the requirement for the fit note to be signed by the issuing doctor. The old style of fit note will still be available to use.
Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) suggest long COVID should be treated as disability
The EHRC has suggested that employers should treat any employees who have long-covid symptoms as a disabled person for the purposes for the Equality Act 2010. This means making reasonable adjustments and ensuring the employees are not subjected to any other form of disability discrimination. Even though not all employee suffering from long-covid will meet the statutory definition of disability, this approach will mean that employers minimise the risk of disability discrimination claims.
Nearly a third of women have missed work due to menopause symptoms
The Women and Equalities Committee (“WEC”) Menopause and the workplace survey results have highlighted that nearly a third of menopausal women have had to miss work due to their symptoms. In advance of International Women’s Day 2022, which took place on 8 March, the WEC called for more support to be given to menopausal women in the workplace. Of the women who responded to the survey only 11% had asked for adjustments to take account of their symptoms. Another 25% had not requested adjustments due to concerns about how others would react.
New regulations to establish collective money purchase schemes to come into force on 1 August
New regulations permitting employers to establish collective money purchase schemes have been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 1 August 2022. Collective Defined Contribution (“CDC”) schemes are new to the UK and will see both the employer and employee pay into a collective fund, the assets of which are then invested on a collective basis. Although there is no guaranteed level of benefit, it is expected to be higher than under traditional defined contribution schemes.