December 2021 Newsletter

December 1, 2021

Future Planning / Hiring An Apprentice / Statutory Pay Increases…

Planning ahead for future skills and talent needs?

Many companies would admit to having been affected by the labour squeeze since the economy has started to pick up, in the wake of the pandemic. A recent CIPD poll of 1000 companies found that 47% were now struggling to fill vacancies and 27% said they expected the number of hard-to-fill vacancies to increase over the next six months.

work culture

Similarly, recruitment agencies are seeing a record growth in job adverts over the last few months and official figures from the Office for National Statistics put job vacancies at another record high in the last quarter, rising by 388,000 to 1.17 million from August to October. The number of people on payroll increased by 160,000 while unemployment fell to 4.3% – nearly pre-pandemic levels.

In the world of HR, we are now seeing employees taking advantage of the new labour market and there has been a surge in job-to-job moves as people everywhere are rethinking their career priorities after the pandemic. Working from home has become the new normal for many people and they are not willing to give that up, so are now seeking out alternative employment from companies who offer better flexible working arrangements as standard.

Employers must now focus on the culture of their organisation and improve how they develop and retain their existing workforce if they want to hold on to their good staff. A great company culture speaks for itself. Organisations who do the following will be more likely to retain talent:

• Nurture employees by offering excellent training and development opportunities
• Make staff feel appreciated by offering a variety of perks, rewards and incentives
• Encourage effective, honest and open communication at all levels of the business
• Show trust and autonomy by offering greater flexibility and work-life balance
• Promote social responsibility, for example by offering the chance to give back to the local community with time off for volunteer work
• Offer inclusive social events
• Provide additional annual leave, above the statutory minimum
• Provide a Company sick pay scheme
• Promote employee wellbeing

The list goes on… ! The important thing is for companies to find what works for their business and their employees. You can’t please everyone, but in general, when employees feel appreciated, see that their employer really cares and is willing to put time and energy into ensuring their company is a fantastic place to work, employee loyalty soon follows. The HR Team can help business owners by discussing more ways to help you improve your company culture and support you in developing and retaining your existing staff.

For expert advice on company culture & employee retention, contact The HR Team. 

Hiring an apprentice. What are the benefits?

Apprenticeships are an exciting opportunity for both apprentice and employer. You can employ apprentices at different levels, from school leavers and university graduates to people who want to further their careers or change career direction completely. You can hire someone new or upskill an existing employee. As an employer, you can get funding from the government to help pay for apprenticeship training.

apprentice

The benefits for your business
Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
• 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation
• 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity
• 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service

Other benefits of working with apprentices include:
• you can adapt their training according to the needs of your business
• they’re motivated to learn new skills
• you can expand and upskill your workforce

Financial incentives for employers
From 11 January 2022, employers can apply for a payment of £3,000 for new apprentices of any age who have an employment start date of 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022. These apprentices must also have an apprenticeship start date of 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
Applications open on 11 January 2022 and close on 15 May 2022.

The incentive payment is in addition to the £1,000 employers already receive for hiring an apprentice:
• aged 16 to 18 years old
• aged 19 to 24 with an education, health and care plan or who has been in the care of their local authority

For further information and support with hiring an apprentice, contact The HR Team. 

Statutory Pay Limits Increase from April 2022

What is changing?

The government has announced the new rates for statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, parental bereavement and shared parental payments which will take effect from April 2022, as well as the rate for statutory sick pay.

On 11 April 2022, the rates for statutory pay rates will increase to:

• Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, Adoption Pay, Shared Parental Pay, Parental Bereavement Pay and Maternity Allowance will increase from £151.97 to £156.66 per week (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower).

• The Statutory Sick Pay rate will increase from £96.35 to £99.35 per week

Why do I need to plan ahead for this?

Companies who fail to pay these minimum rates from 11 April 2022 could find themselves on the receiving end of claims for back pay together with perhaps the serious claims of discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal dependant on the circumstances.

What should I do?

• Check to see if your contracts and policies comply and if not, update them; and
• Ensure you are familiar with your new obligations and are implementing them from 11 April 2022.

Employers who have employees on sickness absence, or maternity leave etc, in the run up to April 2022, must remember to factor in the increases for these employees where their absence continues past the rate change date, as well as employees who go on sick leave, maternity leave etc after the new rates are in place.

The national minimum/living wage rates and real living wage rates from 1 April 2022 are:

Rate from April 2022 Current rate (April 2021 to March 2022) Increase
National Living Wage £9.50 £8.91 6.6%
21–22-Year-Old Rate £9.18 £8.36 9.8%
18–20-Year-Old Rate £6.83 £6.56 4.1%
16–17-Year-Old Rate £4.81 £4.62 4.1%
Apprentice Rate £4.81 £4.30 11.9%
Accommodation Offset £8.70 £8.36 4.1%

For further information and support with employee wage increases, contact The HR Team

To ensure your business receives all the latest Employment Law updates that may be relevant and crucial to the way you run your business, contact The HR Team and subscribe to our mailing list.

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