2021 was reasonably quiet on the HR front, 2022 is expected to be busier in terms of changes. There is a new Employment Bill likely to come into force this year which will implement a number of new measures which could include:
– a new right to request flexible working from day one.
– introducing a new right for workers with variable hours to request a more stable and predictable contract after 26 weeks’ service and, possibly, new rights to reasonable notice of working hours and compensation for short-notice shift cancellation. This is off the back of the Good Work agenda from a couple of years back.
– A new proactive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, making employers responsible if employees are harassed by customers or other third parties.
– Carers Leave – by August 2022, EU member states need to have implemented the EU Work-Life Balance Directive, which includes new basic rights for carers and working parents and the United Kingdom has promised to match the new rights for carers. The UK proposal is that working carers will be able to take up to five days’ carers leave each year to help them carry out their caring responsibilities, although this will be unpaid.
– The UK government has also promised a new right to 12 weeks’ paid neonatal leave for parents whose babies spend time in neonatal care units. The government has also promised to improve redundancy protection for pregnant employees and maternity returners by giving them priority for alternative employment opportunities if made redundant, with similar protections for parents returning from adoption or shared parental leave.
Details are still being finalised, but it would be worth keeping an eye out for these and starting to prepare in advance.