As the end of 2021 approaches, we look at some current workplace trends and give you a few headlines for some of the changes expected in 2022.
Right to Work Checks
When the UK left the European Economic Area (EEA), at the start of 2021, new immigration laws impacting on ‘right to the work checks’ came into force. The transition period January to June gave employers time to get to grips with the new requirements and for employees organise their documentation and confirm their status.
An employer’s guide to right to work checks (publishing.service.gov.uk) gives you the latest government guidance in this area:
Key points to remember are:
- You should conduct right to work checks before you employ a person. This will ensure potential candidates are legally allowed to work for you.
- If an individual’s right to work is time limited, you should arrange follow-up checks shortly before it is due to end.
- There are two types of right to work checks:
- a manual document-based check and
- an online check.
Following the correct procedure as set out in the guidance and in the code of practice may provide you with a statutory excuse.
- Use the Employer Checking Service for individuals who have an outstanding application, administrative review or appeal, or their immigration status requires verification by the Home Office.
Right to Work Checks and COVID
Under normal circumstances employers should carry out right to work checks in person. However, in response to the COVID pandemic the government made temporary adjustments to their guidance. This was to help in situations where checks could not be conducted face to face.
The date for resuming face to face checks is currently 5th April 2022. Click her to read the government’s current Right to Work COVID-19 factsheet for details of what do when you are unable to check an employee’s documents in person.
Of all workplace trends this is the one most likely to continue. Many employees and employers are currently adapting to work patterns where ‘going to work’ no longer refers solely to attending a physical place of work. Increasingly the concept of ‘going to work’ can be regarded a ‘state of engagement’ rather than an actual location.
Over the past two years the ability to work remotely has proved successful for many people. However, inevitability there are also challenges to implementing and managing this type of work situation. One of which is being able to adapt to change to our working arrangements such as location at short notice. The government’s recent announcement to ‘work from home where possible’ reminds us of that. Click here to see a presentation by the CIPD, given in April 2021 for a brief overview of this topic.
Recruitment – Skills challenges are still a priority
Skills shortages are not a new problem. To close the skills gap is an important focus for employers. HR Magazine’s article How HR can close the talent gap picks out three ways of addressing this issue. It suggests:
- Looking internally at your existing talent pool. Providing good training to your existing work force is a key element to success in this area.
- Casting your net wider. Opening up opportunities to the widest possible range of recruitment sources to attract candidates.
- Unearthing the hidden gems within your organisation. Developing a flexible approach as to where and how roles can be successfully undertaken.
Inclusivity and Diversity
A survey by Glassdoor in 2021 revealed up to 72% of UK job seekers and employees consider a diverse workforce to be an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. Employers are taking steps toward addressing this issue and are pledging to improve inclusivity and diversity in their organisation. In 2022, employees and customers will expect meaningful action with progress from promises made in 2020 in the wake of Black Lives Matter and other movements. This aspect of employment is still, therefore, very much on the agenda for successful organisations over the next few years.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Lockdown and social distancing in 2020 highlighted a critical need for the importance of workforce wellbeing. This pattern continued into 2021. Read this article from May 2021, Mental health lessons from the pandemic must become part of workplace culture. It encourages employers to take the Mental Health lessons learned in the pandemic and embed them into their organisational culture for the future
Employers have legal responsibilities for the health and safety of their workforce. This includes both physical and mental health wellbeing. You must identify and assess risks posed in the workplace for all aspects of your employees’ work. You will, therefore, be able give the right support to employee needs’ by addressing issues early and concerns appropriately.
Trends for 2022
As we approach 2022, here are few headlines for workplace trends being talked about as items for the future.
Increase in National Insurance contributions
An increase of 1.25% in NI contributions for all working adults in the UK and matched by employers. Due to take effect in April 2022.
National Living Wage
Going up from £8.91 per hour to £9.50 per hour in April 2022, for employees over the age of twenty-five.
Changes to flexible working
The Government is consulting on reforms to the Flexible Working Regulations 2014. The consultation includes making the right to request flexible working a right from day one of employment.
Entitlement to leave for carers
The government outlined it intention to introduce an entitlement to carer’s leave as a ‘day one right’ for employees. Unpaid carers would be able to take up to five working days of unpaid leave per year. The leave could be taken as individual days or in half day increments.
Extended redundancy protection for pregnant employees
In July 2019, the government announced that pregnant workers, those on maternity leave and new parents returning to work after an extended period of family leave would benefit from enhanced redundancy protections. The change would extend redundancy protection for six months from the date of a mother’s return to work. It would include those taking adoption or shared parental leave. However, since the initial announcement, no timescale has been put in place for the introduction of this enhanced protection.
For more guidance about workplace trends or advice on other HR topics contact us at Solution22 – HR Consultancy Services.