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Legislation Tracker

Legislation Tracker

01/10/2021

This page contains information about recent and forthcoming legislative changes which impact on schools and colleges. Our focus is on the developments likely to be of most significance to the sector and is therefore not necessarily exhaustive.

Forthcoming Changes - date TBC

Date TBC: Introduction of carer's leave

  Relevance: All settings 

Legislation: TBC

The government consulted in 2020 on proposals to give employees who are carers a week of unpaid leave each year for the purpose of undertaking their caring responsibilities. The response to consultation was published on 23rd September 2021.

The right will be introduced "when Parliamentary time allows".

Eligible carers will be entitled to the right from day one of employment with eligibility depending on the carer's relationship with the individual requiring care. The scope of eligibility is very similar to that which is used to determine the right to time off for dependants. It covers:

  • A spouse / civil partner
  • A child
  • A parent
  • A person living in the same household as the employee, other than as an employee, tenant, lodger or boarder
  • Someone else who reasonably relies on the employee for care.

The person being cared for must also have a long-term care need, subject to certain exemptions. Employees will not be required to provide evidence of their eligibility or of the care needs of the individual.

It will be possible to take the leave flexibly in individual days or half days, not just in blocks, but the employee must give notice of at least twice the length of the time being requested plus one day (so the notice required to take one day's carer's leave would be three days, for example). There will be a limited right to postpone the leave in exceptional circumstances to avoid disruption to the business.

We will provide more detailed guidance when draft legislation is published.

Last updated: 30th September 2021

Date TBC: Consultation on changes to flexible working rights

  Relevance: All settings 

The government has commenced consultation on extending flexible working rights. Consultation closes on 1st December 2021.

The consultation sets out various considerations to support the objective of 'making flexible working the default'. There are a couple of specific proposals, as follows:

  • Making the right to request flexible working a 'day one' right;
  • Requiring the employer to show that they have considered alternative working arrangements when rejecting a statutory request for flexible working.

The consultation is also looking at:

  • Reviewing whether the eight business reasons for refusing a request all remain valid;
  • Considering whether employees should be able to make more than one statutory flexible working request in a year and whether the three-month deadline for responding to requests still strikes a fair balance;
  • How to encourage employees to make more use of the right to request a temporary flexible working arrangement.

In addition to the proposals above, the consultation document looks at other steps aimed at securing a general cultural shift towards more 'flexible working friendly' workplaces.

We will provide a further update in 2022 when the outcome of consultation is published.

Last updated: 1st October 2021

Date TBC: Use of non-disclosure clauses in settlement agreements and contracts

  Relevance: All settings 

Legislation: TBC

In July 2019 the Government published its response to consultation on preventing the misuse of confidentiality clauses in the workplace. This was undertaken chiefly as a response to certain cases where employers had used such clauses to prevent victims of harassment or discrimination from speaking out. As a result, the Government has committed to:

  • legislating so that no provision in a confidentiality clause can prevent disclosures to the police, regulated health and care professionals and legal professionals;
  • legislating so that limitations in confidentiality clauses are clearly set out in employment contracts and settlement agreements;
  • producing guidance for solicitors and legal professionals responsible for drafting settlement agreements;
  • legislating to enhance the independent legal advice received by individuals signing confidentiality clauses;
  • enforcement measures for confidentiality clauses that do not comply with legal requirements in written statements of employment particulars and settlement agreements.

Legislation is expected as soon as “Parliamentary time allows”. Guidance has already been produced at the request of the government by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (October 2019) and ACAS (February 2020).

There have been no further updates on when, or whether, these proposals will be taken forwards. We will publish further advice when more is known.

Last updated: 1st October 2021

Date TBC: Extension of redundancy protection for new and expectant mothers / parents

  Relevance: All settings 

Legislation: TBC

In July 2019, the Government published its response to consultation on extending redundancy protection for women and new parents.

Women on maternity leave (as well as those on adoption and shared parental leave) already have special protection in a redundancy situation, meaning that employers have an obligation to offer suitable alternative employment where it exists, in preference to others at risk of redundancy.

The Government has now committed to extending this protection as follows:

  • Protection will apply from the point the employee informs the employer that she is pregnant (whether orally or in writing) and will extend until 6 months after the mother has returned to work;
  • For those taking adoption leave, protection will also extend until 6 months after the return to work;
  • A similar principle to adoption leave will apply for shared parental leave except that, in recognition of the differences between SPL and maternity leave, a different approach will be required (for example the period of protection will need to be proportionate to the amount of leave taken, bearing in mind that periods of SPL may be much shorter).

The Government has also committed to establishing a taskforce of employer and family representative groups to make recommendations on what improvements can be made to the information available to employers and families on pregnancy and maternity discrimination. It will also develop an action plan on what steps Government and other organisations can take to make it easier for pregnant women and new mothers to stay in work.

It was announced in December 2020 that these measures would be contained in the "forthcoming Employment Bill". The Employment Bill was not subsequently announced in the Queen's speech in May 2021 and therefore the future of these proposed changes currently remains uncertain.

Last updated: 1st October 2021

Date TBC: Introduction of neonatal leave and pay

  Relevance: All settings 

Legislation: TBC

The government confirmed its response in March 2020 to the consultation on neonatal leave and pay conducted in 2019. The stated intention in December 2020 was to introduce a statutory leave entitlement for parents of babies in neonatal care (and pay, subject to qualifying conditions) in "the forthcoming Employment Bill". The Employment Bill was not subsequently announced in the Queen's speech in May 2021 and therefore the future of this proposal currently remains uncertain.

Last updated: 1st October 2021

Date TBC: Change to continuity of employment rule

  Relevance: All settings 

Legislation: TBC

As part of the government’s 2018 Good Work Plan, the period of time required to break an employee’s continuous service is due to increase from one week to four weeks. The aim is to make it easier for employees who work intermittently over a period of time to access statutory rights.

We do not yet know when these proposals will be taken forwards.

Last updated: 1st October 2021

Date TBC: Right to request a more stable contract

  Relevance: All settings 

Legislation: TBC

As part of the Good Work Plan, workers who undertake irregular hours who would like more certainty will be able to request a more fixed working pattern from their employer after 26 weeks of service.

We do not yet know when this proposal will be taken forwards.

Last updated: 1st October 2021

Date Reminders for 2022

30th March / 4th April REMINDER: Gender pay gap reporting deadline

  Relevance: Employers with at least 250 staff on the snapshot date 

Public sector organisations within scope of gender pay gap reporting must publish their report by 30th March each year (for the private and voluntary sectors the report deadline is 4th April).

For more on gender pay gap reporting, see our Equality Law > Guidance and Information page.

 

31st July REMINDER: Trade union facility time reporting deadline (public sector)

  Relevance: All public sector bodies with more than 49 FTE employees 

Reports on facility time usage must be submitted by 31st July each year, covering the year from April to March.

 

Quick Summary of Reporting Requirement:

The local authority is responsible for reporting in respect of its community and voluntary controlled schools and PRUs (but schools may have to provide information to the LA about local union representatives).

Subject to the minimum size requirement*, other public sector bodies in the education sector also have to report, including the governing bodies of voluntary aided and foundation schools, academy trusts, FE and HE institutions.

* Size requirement: employer must have had more than 49 FTE employees in at least 7 of the 12 months included in the reporting period (April to March) and at least one trade union representative during that time.

More detail on facility time reporting is available within the Trade Union Facility Time Reporting pages.

30th September REMINDER: Apprenticeship targets reporting deadline (public sector)

  Relevance: Public bodies with 250 or more staff (FE colleges and universities are out of scope) 

The next reporting deadline is 30th September 2022, covering the period from April 2021 to March 2022.

All bodies in scope are required to publish certain information annually on their progress towards meeting the public sector apprenticeship target (for a minimum of 2.3% apprenticeship starts per year).

Community and voluntary controlled schools are included in their local authority's target.

More information on the public sector targets and reporting requirement is available.

 

Public sector apprenticeships target 1 April 2022 onwards

The public sector apprenticeships target is coming to an end on 31 March 2022. From this date there will no longer be a target set for public sector employers.

Public sector employers who are currently required to report against the public sector apprenticeships target are asked to continue to gather, and later report:

new apprenticeship starts
total number of apprentices
organisational headcount

The government will publish this data annually to support transparency and external accountability, and help maintain the momentum public sector employers have built up once the current statutory target ends.

 

Changes for 2022

3rd/6th April 2022: Statutory rate increases

Relevance: All settings 

From 3rd April 2022, the flat weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement pay will increase from £151.97 to £156.66.

From 6th April 2022, the weekly rate for statutory sick pay wil increase from £96.35 to £99.35.

From 6th April 2022, the maximum amount of a week's pay for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy pay will increase from £544 to £571.

1st April 2022: National minimum wage rises

  Relevance: All settings 

The hourly rates of the national living wage and national minimum wage will increase on 1st April 2022. The current and previous rates are as follows:

  

National Minimum Wage

 

Hourly rate from 1st April 2021

Hourly rate from 1st April 2022

Workers aged 23+ yrs

£8.91

£9.50

Workers aged 21-22 yrs

£8.36

£9.18

Workers aged 18-20 yrs

£6.56

£6.83

Workers under 18 but over compulsory school age

£4.62

£4.81

Apprentices under 19 years or 19+ but in the first year of apprenticeship

£4.30

£4.81

 

6th April 2022: IR35 Rules - End of 'light touch' enforcement

The reformed IR35 rules have applied to the private sector since 6 April 2021, having been in force in the public sector since 2017. Schools should be aware that HMRC's approach to enforcing the rules is set to change from April 2022.

In the first 12 months following the extension of the rules in April 2021 to the private sector and the imposition of  additional procedural requirements  to all sectors ( such as the requirement to provide an Status Determination Statement to the individual contractor and to have a dispute process in place) HMRC's position was that it would not impose penalties for inaccuracies unless it had evidence of deliberate non-compliance. Where a mistake is identified, as long as the organisation had taken reasonable care to apply the rules, HMRC stated it would take a supportive approach encouraging organisations to self-correct any errors.

HMRCs approach will change from 6 April 2022 and after this date in cases where additional tax is payable as a result of a mistake, penalties may be due, however if your school informs HMRC as early as possible about any mistakes and works together with HMRC to correct errors this can help mitigate any penalties charged.

The increased possibility of enforcement action should be a reminder to schools to review their IR35 arrangements and check that they are compliant. HR Customers can find detailed guidance in the Recruitment Selection & Appointment pages of our website.