Are you ‘Procedure and Policy ready’ for 2022?Posted: 11 Jan 2022
Minimise the risk your business is exposed to and create a strong employment relationship with your employees
Is it time to review your employment contracts, policies and procedures?
With 2021 fresh in our memories, and all the possibilities of 2022 ahead – now is a great time to review your employment contracts, workplace policies and HR procedures. Employment law is complex and always moving, so keeping up with changes and remaining compliant can be a task of itself.
2022 is set to be a year full of legislative updates in the employment law sector, with the long-awaited Employment Bill expected to be published at some point this year, and a number of changes in reaction to the shifting work habits of the past-two years.
We have seen a country-wide move towards working flexibly, working from home, and attempting to address the ever-elusive work-life balance. We have battled with the employment status of so-called ‘gig economy workers’, and found menopausal symptoms can amount to a disability. As a country we are trying to understand the legalities and requirements of mandatory vaccinations, whilst juggling with our responsibility to the GDPR. So, are your policies, procedures and contracts legally compliant, current and fit-for-purpose? Taking time to review and update your procedures, policies and contracts will help prevent future issues or confusion for your employees.
Why is it important to have employment policy documentation in place?
Employers are legally required to provide their employees, whose employment started after 6 April 2020, with a written document summarising the main terms of their employment. This is the ‘written statement of employment particulars’ and it should express pay, working hours and other rights and responsibilities. Employers must provide these written terms on or before the first day of work, regardless of the length of the employment.
In the event that the employer does not supply the written statement, an employee can raise a grievance, and if that does not resolve things, they may be entitled to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal. It is therefore key to have your terms and conditions up-to-date and ready to issue to new starters.
New starters aside, there have been a number of changes in the employment law landscape over the past 48-months, and it is important to review your employment documents to make sure they reflect your company’s current policies.
- Have you introduced a flexible working policy, or work from home guidance?
- Did you undertake risk assessments and change any workplace procedures to reflect updated health and safety measures?
- Did you incorporate any additional measures or policies to protect vulnerable employees?
- Have you got enhanced testing or vaccination requirements?
What do we expect to happen in 2022?
Looking forward, we are expecting a number of changes in legislation in 2022 including mandatory vaccines in the care and medical sectors, guidance on managing sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as carers and neonatal leave policies.
There are steps you can take now to be prepared for these updates before they come into force.
What should you do?
To avoid confusion and minimise the risk of potential disputes with your employees, it is important to make sure you have clear, current and compliant contracts, policies and procedures in place across your business. Not only does it ensure there is clear guidance for your workforce, informing them of their rights and obligations as well as outlining the employment relationship, but it also offers you protection acting as the first line of defence if an issue should arise.
If you would like to draft, review or update any of your company's contracts, policies or procedures, please get in touch.
Article written by:
Emma Gross is a Partner Solicitor at Spencer West. She specialises in Complex employment tribunal cases, data protection and the GDPR, negotiating settlements and advising on fair and reasonable redundancy procedures.
Partner – Employment, Data Protection
+44 (0)7984 515974
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