2022 Employment Law updates

It’s the end of the year so it’s time to look back at the employment legislation updates during 2022 that we consider relevant to SME’s.  If you require further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

1 July – Changes to Fit Notes
From this date nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists working in GP practices or in hospitals are now able to issue and sign fit-notes. The change follows on from the digitalisation of fit notes on 6 April 2022 and is intended to free up GP time for consultations and streamline the process for patients, employers and the NHS.

July – Part Year Workers
A supreme court ruled that part year workers are entitled to the same holiday allowance as full-time workers. This applies to workers and employees on part year contracts such as term time only (not to be confused with part time workers).

22 August – A new Immigration Route for Highly Skilled Workers was introduced
A new immigration route for highly skilled workers (such as scientists, engineers, software developers and architects) into the UK opened up for scale-up companies. These are businesses that:

* have grown by 20% or more in terms of staffing or annual turnover for at least three years

* had 10 or more employees at the start of the three years.

Employers will need to sponsor the visa for only six months but the sponsored worker will have two years’ leave to remain in the UK during which they can work for any employer without further sponsorship.

Workers using this route will need to be:

* 18 years or over

* a graduate from an institution approved by the Home Office

* have a genuine offer of employment for at least six months in a graduate-level skilled job

* be guaranteed a basic salary of at least £33,000 (or the going rate in the relevant sector).

1 October – Right to Work Checks
During Covid, the Home Office allowed employers to conduct right to work checks using video calls and to receive scanned copies of ID.  This temporary adjustment ended on 30th September 2022.

If organisations want to do digital/online checks, for example with remote workers who are British and Irish citizens, they need to use an approved Digital Service Checking company.  We recommend Trust ID.
Please note that manual/in person checks remain valid.
Right to work check must be gained BEFORE the employee starts work.

17 October 2022 – IR35 responsibility remains with employers
Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini budget on 23 September 2022 contained the announcement that employers would stop being responsible for deciding whether the IR35 tax rules apply to contractors working for them through personal service companies (also known as umbrella organisations). On 17 October, the new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced the proposed change would not take place.

The change would have effectively removed reforms introduced in 2017 and 2021, when responsibility for checking whether IR35 applied passed from contractors to their public and private sector employers.

5 December – Exclusivity clauses
Regulations extending the ban on exclusivity clauses (intended to prevent employers from working for more than one employer) in zero hours contracts to those on or below the lower earnings limit (set at £123 a week for the 2022-23 tax year) came into force on this date.

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