What to expect from employment law in 2022

For large parts of 2020 and 2021, employers across the UK had to quickly adapt to new and ever-changing regulations, restrictions, safety procedures and working environments. As we move into 2022 it is important to keep an eye on any developments (whether confirmed or expected) in employment law. Read this blog to find out more about what 2022 may have in store.


Wage increases

The national minimum wage (NMW) is the minimum hourly rate that must be paid to all workers or employees in the UK between the school leaving age (usually 16) up until the age of 23. The national living wage (NLW) is a higher rate of the national minimum wage for all workers and employees who are 23 and over.

From 1 April 2022, both the NMW and NLW rates will increase. The changes are as follows:

  • NLW for those ages 23 and over: from £8.91 to £9.50
  • NMW for those aged 21 to 22: from £8.36 to £9.18
  • NMW for those aged 18 to 20: from £6.56 to £6.83
  • NMW for those aged under 18: from £4.62 to £4.81
  • Apprentice rate (paid to apprentices): from £4.30 to £4.81

For more information on the NMW and NLW, read Minimum wage.


Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) increase

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is the minimum amount of sick pay employers must pay staff when they are off sick. SSP is paid when the employee is sick for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days, such as weekends). 

From 6 April 2022, SSP will increase from £96.35 to £99.35 per week.

For more information, read Sick pay.


Statutory maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay, shared parental pay, parental bereavement pay and maternity allowance

From 3 April 2022, these rates will increase from £151.97 to £156.66 power week. You can find out more information about:


National Insurance contributions increase

From 6 April 2022, Nation Insurance contribution for both employers and employees will rise by 1.25% to be spent on the NHS and social care in the UK. While this increase will not apply to those over the state pension age, it will apply to:

  • Class 1 (paid by employees)
  • Class 4 (paid by the self-employed)
  • secondary Class 1, 1A and 1B (paid by employers)

For more information, see the government website.


The Employment Bill

The government is still planning to introduce the long-promised Employment Bill, which first featured in the 2019 Queen’s Speech. While it has not yet been confirmed, the Employment Bill is set to include:

  • a single enforcement body to enforce breaches in relation to national minimum wage, modern slavery, employment agencies, statutory sick pay and holiday pay for vulnerable workers 
  • workers receiving their tips in full, with the government introducing legislation requiring all employers to pass on tips without any deductions
  • a right to one week’s unpaid leave for unpaid carers
  • a right to up to 12 weeks of paid leave of neonatal leave for parents of babies born prematurely (or admitted to hospital in their first four weeks) – one week’s leave per week the baby is in the hospital
  • the right to request flexible working from day one of employment
  • a right to workers (include zero hours and agency workers) to request a more predictable contract after 26 weeks’ continuous service
  • an extension of redundancy protections for pregnant workers and those on maternity leave and other forms of family leave – to  apply from the point the employee informs the employer that the employee is pregnant to six months after the end of the family leave period


Other potential legislative changes

The government has proposed a number of other significant employment law changes, to be introduced ‘when parliamentary time allows’. These proposed changes include:

  • a duty to prevent sexual harassment, the duty to prevent third-party harassment and legislation relating to the use of non-disclosure agreements to silence complainants in discrimination cases
  • a reform to the laws on whistleblowing – especially to keep pace with the new EU Whistleblowing Directive
  • a disability reporting obligation – with a consultation open until 25 March 2022
  • the potential banning or reformation of non-compete restrictions – with a consultation having closed in February 2021 


Remember to Ask a lawyer if you have any questions or concerns.

Rebecca Neumann