Welcome to 2022, may it be a distinct improvement on 2020 and 2021 but just in case I am going to sit quietly here and maybe I won’t be noticed!
My New Year resolution is to be the same fabulous me I always am so I am already winning at 2022 but let’s look at what this year has in store for you as an employer.
Minimum Wage increases
As we mentioned previously, all National Minimum Wage rates are due to increase in April.
Hybrid and home working
From our point of view, there is no prospect of a return to “normal” with teams being fully office-based. In fact, many of our clients report that the benefits of hybrid or remote working are having far-reaching impacts on their business, more so than they could ever have imagined.
Need help or advice on introducing hybrid or remote working? Let us know – we can support you through introducing these big changes in your business.
Increased focus on mental health
Not a new topic by any means but definitely one of the main priorities into 2022 as well.
2 years of a pandemic has left us all exhausted and burnt out and the stress and worries have had a massive impact on mental health. Some companies have always seen mental health as a priority but it was often a nice to have rather than an essential.
Free water, snacks and perks or days out are lovely but we are way beyond that now. Employers need to look at what employees actually need or want – maybe access to counsellors, GP or occupational health as well as flexible working allowing staff to continue with caring responsibilities or to take time for themselves.
We can support you by facilitating training and ensuring managers have the adequate knowledge and confidence to make mental health less taboo. If managers feel comfortable talking about mental health, then hopefully employees will ask for help and support when needed.
Menopause at work
Definitely another big topic for 2022 in our view. 2021 saw menopause at work being debated in Parliament and as the Government pledged to introduce a Menopause Taskforce in November, it’s to be expected that we’ll see a lot more on this topic in 2022 and beyond.
Check out our menopause at work webinar.
Flexible Working Rights
A consultation has recently been in place (ended on 1st December) proposing to change the existing employee right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of service to become a day one right. Any employee would be able to request flexible working from the day they join your business if this change comes into effect and if it does, we would anticipate that happening at some point in 2022.
Workplace Sexual Harassment
We expect legislation in 2022 on this subject, including a duty on employers to prevent harassment, and some new protections from third-party harassment as well as a new statutory Code of Practice and guidance for employers. Watch this space!
Finally, I guess the biggest learning from 2020 and 2021 is the importance of HR. I know, I would say that but a good HR team can help a company roll with the punches.
HR has faced massive challenges with rapidly changing regulations and advice sometimes even changing twice or three times a week. Furlough, lock down, isolation, testing, essential workers, hybrid working have all become hot topics.
HR can be seen as unnecessary and only needed when something goes wrong. The last few years have proven that HR need to be part of management and involved in strategic planning for the future. 2022 may finally be the year HR gets a chance to shine and of course, as a smaller business, you have the ideal option to call on an HR Consultant whenever you need one!