What are the changes to employment law in 2022? UK, Ireland and the Nordic Regions
An anticipated employment law change in the UK is the Employment Bill which is expected to be published and enacted in 2022:
- The establishment of a single enforcement body for employment rights.
- Extended protection for redundancies, maternity, parental and adoption leave.
- A new right for workers to request a more stable contract after providing services for 26 week.
- A new right for workers to request flexible working from the first day of employment.
- An extension of time required to break a period of continuous service from one week to four weeks.
National Insurance contributions
National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are a tax paid by employees and employers. On 6th April 2022, the rates of the NICs have increased by 1.25 percentage points. For example, a 12% NIC rate has risen to 13.25%.
The NICs increase was legislated as a means to increases spending on the health and social care system. From April 2023, the 1.25% percentage point NIC increase will be replaced by a new Health and Social Care Levy. Please reach out to our Client Services Teams if you require further information about how this will impact your predicted employment costings.
Statutory Sick Pay Scheme (SSP)
The Sick Pay Bill is anticipated to require all employers to provide SSP to qualifying employees. Employees will initially be entitled to receive paid sick leave for three days in 2022, increasing to five days in 2023, seven days in 2024 and up to ten days by 2025.
To qualify for paid sick leave the employee must be working for the employer for a minimum of thirteen weeks and must obtain a medical certificate declaring that they are unfit for work.
Employers will be required to pay 70% of normal wages (up to a maximum of €110 per day).
Paid parental leave was introduced in 2019 to allow parents to take paid leave from work during the first year after birth. These provisions were extended in 2021 to provide parents with five weeks of paid leave during the first two years after birth. From July 2022, the leave will be extended to 7 weeks of parental leave.
On 24 June 2021, Denmark passed the new Whistle-blower Protection Act in accordance with the EU Whistle-blowing Directive. Both public and private companies with at least 50 employees must set up an internal whistle-blower system through which employees can raise concerns. The rules will also apply to private companies with 50-249 employees from 17 December 2023.
Parental Leave and care leave
After the implementation of the EU Directive on work-life balance, the Danish government are looking to develop greater equality between the sexes within the labour market, with fathers being granted additional rights to parental leave. The Directive is due to be implemented in Denmark by 02 August 2022.
The government is also proposing to introduce a right to ‘care leave’ amounting to 5 days per year for each employee.
From 01 January 2022, all employees who are 13 years and older will be entitled to a pension accrual from their employer if they earn over 1,000 NOK. Employers have until June 2022 to adjust their processes.
A recent decision from the Norwegian high court has indicated that sending a notice of termination to an employee will no longer be valid. The notice must be delivered to the employee in person or be forwarded by registered post to the address provided by the employee.
Changes to the Employment Protection Act
New changes to the Employment Protection Act have come into effect on 27 January 2022. A draft bill of the Act was submitted to the Swedish Council on Legislation to implement proposed changes such as making it easier for employers to safeguard employees when considering redundancies and removing the possibility for employees to make a reinstatement in the case of wrong termination disputes. The proposed amendments will come into effect on 30 June 2022.
Sweden implemented the whistle-blower Directive on 17 December 2021. Companies with more than 250 employees will be required to implement the new whistle-blower policies by 17 July 2022. Companies who have more than 50 employees but less than 250 employees will be required to implement the new whistle-blower policies by 17 December 2023.
As of 01 January 2022, any restrictive covenant relating to post-employment non-competition clauses for a period of 6 months must be compensated with 40% if the regular salary. Longer non-compete periods will require compensation of up to 60% of the regular salary. Employers may terminate existing unnecessary non-compete clauses agreed prior 2022 during 2022. Please reach out to the People2.0 Legal Team if you have any questions relating to restrictive covenants during onboarding with People2.0.