Employment Law Update | December 2021
Employment Law Update | December 2021
James Mallon, our HR Business Partner, provides us with an Employment Law Update for December 2021.
Mandatory vaccines for health and social care workers takes a step closer to becoming law. The Department of Health and Social Care published its Response to its Consultation. It confirms that vaccination will become mandatory for those with face-to-face contact with patients and service users unless they are exempt. Implementing regulations will come into force on 1 April 2022 after a 12-week grace period.
Masks and Exceptions
Most will already know, that with the new variant becoming more present, face masks are now compulsory in shops and on public transport, as well as at transport hubs like railway stations and airports. The new rules also apply to staff and customers in; hairdressers, tattoo studios, nail bars, post offices, banks, estate agents, vet surgeries, takeaways, pharmacies, auction houses, taxis, and for driving lessons and driving tests. The rules do not apply to other indoor venues such as gyms, theatres, cinemas, pubs or restaurants, although the previous guidance recommended wearing masks in all crowded settings.
Government guidance states those who fall into the below (non-exhaustive) categories, do not have to wear a face mask and are exempt:
- children under the age of 11
- people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- people for whom putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
- people speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
- to avoid the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
- police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public
An Exception Card is not required by law, though people can download one here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
2. National Minimum Wage Decisions
The Employment Appeal Tribunal, in Augustine v Data Cars Ltd, held that, in calculating whether a taxi driver had been paid the National Minimum Wage, rental payments made by the driver to hire his vehicle and uniform from his employer should have been deducted from his wage, because those payments were made in “connection with employment”. It was not relevant to the test that he could have provided his own vehicle instead and that he only needed the uniform to do a certain level of work. Working out National Minimum Wage calculations for an Employee or a Worker can be trickier than it first appears. Contact your adviser at HPC if you want to support in this area.
3. Disability and Sex Discrimination
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), in Rooney v Leicester City Council, has upheld an appeal against an Employment Tribunal’s decision to strike out a claim for disability and sex discrimination based on the treatment of a menopausal woman. The Tribunal had found that Ms Rooney’s menopausal symptoms were not a disability and that there was insufficient evidence of sex discrimination for the claim to proceed. However, the EAT found that the Tribunal had failed to provide sufficient reasoning to support either decision. The tribunal had not explained why Ms Rooney’s condition did not meet the disability threshold and had not properly considered the evidence of sex discrimination that Ms Rooney had submitted. The claim was remitted back to the Tribunal to consider these issues. Menopause, if it meets the legal tests, could be a disability, and employers ignore an employee’s complaints at their peril. Speak to your HPC adviser for support in this growing and contentious area.
4. Upcoming Laws
The following laws come into force on the below dates:
|04 December 2021||The deadline for care home workers and volunteers that have provided a self-certification of exemption from the Covid vaccine must confirm their exemption status via the NHS Pass by 24 December 2021.|
|31 December 2021||All claims under the SSP rebate scheme, closed on 30 September 2021, must be made by this date in order for the employer to get money back under this scheme.|
|01 April 2022||If successfully passed through Parliament, this is likely going to be the date from which all those working on the frontline in health and social care, or ancillary to it, must be fully vaccinated.|
|05 April 2022||From this date, employers must revert to in person checks of Right To Work documentation.|
|05 April 2022||National Living Wage will rise by 6.6%, from £8.91 per hour to £9.50 per hour.|
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Should you wish to discuss any of these points, or you are looking to create a smooth HR operation please get in contact with the team at High Performance Consultancy today.
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