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Keeping A Lid On Pay For 2022 & NMW Increases

Business owners have much to consider over the coming weeks regarding annual pay reviews for their staff.    They are also having to look at pay scales for those who they hope to recruit into the business as number of things are currently affecting some sectors of the job market:

  • Unemployment is currently very low which gives the job seeker an element of choice in terms of where they want to work.  This makes some businesses react by increasing pay for new starters’ whilst existing staff stay on lower salaries than those joining.
  • We are told that a high percentage of employees are looking to leave their current employer.  The reasons for this are : increasing confidence that they will find it easy to find alternative employment;  low levels of natural turnover over Covid which is now balancing out and employees hoping to find organisations who will offer them better work/life balance.

During 2022 the following factors provide further upward pressure on wage costs:

  • National Living Wage for over-23s will rise from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour.  This is a 6.6% rise and double that of inflation.  Any rise to the NLW will also provide pressure to raise salaries of those near to the NLW.   We are now nearly at £10 an hour for lower paid workers and will be no surprise hit that high during 2023.
  • National Minimum Wage for those aged 21-22 increases to £9.18 an hour
  • National Minimum Wage for 18 to 20-year-olds will be £6.83 an hour
  • National Minimum Wage for under-18 year olds will go up to £4.81 an hour
  • The Apprentice Rate rises to £4.81 an  hour.  Remember that apprentices who are over 19 and have completed their first year go on to the NLW or NMW for their age (as above).
  • National Insurance will rise by 1.5% in 2022 – the following year it will appear on payslips as the ‘Health and Social Care Levy’ (and NI levels will revert to their 2021 rates).  The increase applies to employees as well as business and applies as well to director’s dividend payments.   This money will help pay for the rising costs of social care and the NHS and will be ring-fenced by the government.
  • Some supermarkets are already paying their staff over £10 an hour in an attempt to fill posts; and some employers pay their staff who have experience over £11 per hour.
  • The cost of living has risen by 4.2% to the end of October 2021.

So how can a business respond to this pressure?  Here are some tips:

Firstly, do not panic make adjustments to pay unless the affects of ‘The Great Resignation’ (the idea that employees are looking to change jobs in huge numbers) begins to noticeably affect your business. Not all industry sectors will notice a higher than usual turnover.  Just because employees might be ‘thinking’ of looking for new jobs, it does not mean that they will.

Once you give a pay increase, that level of pay is stays in place.  However a one-off bonus, or a higher than usual bonus; gives the employee recognition for their loyalty but does not commit the employer to increased wage costs for the following year as well.

Think of other ideas to aid staff retention.  This could include undertaking a staff survey to find out why some employees may be thinking of leaving your business.  You might wish to have one-to-one conversations with your key employees to check their commitment to the business and ask if they have any concerns over their career direction with you.

Benefits, flexible working options, development and training opportunities, fair promotion processes, a supportive culture, incentives, social events and other ideas to keep your employees engaged with you as an employer may all help retain your staff.   2022 is the time to put in place a retention plan for your business.

SSP costs can be claimed back from Jan 2022

hr consultant; hr advice; redundancy; hr consultancy; hr ; southampton ; hants; redundancy; investigations at work ; employee relations; cleare hr; helen cleareThe government announced on 21 December 2021 that SSP costs can be claimed back by SMEs with less than 250 employees from now.    A much welcomed Xmas gift to businesses from the government!

Employers can claim back the costs in mid January 2022 and so it is important that sick records are accurate for all pay-rolled employees during December 2021.

As with the previous scheme which stopped at the end of September 2021 employees will receive SSP for whole 2 week period where they are off sick due to Covid.   SSP is currently £96.35 per week.   You may of course pay Company sick pay on top of  SSP for a defined number of days.

An employer can claim back up to two weeks sick pay per employer if:

  • They have already paid that employee’s sick pay
  • They are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to Covid
  • They have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • They had fewer than 250 employees as of  28 February 2020

Employees do not have to provide a doctor’s fit note in order for the employer to be able to make a claim.  The employer can however ask the employee to provide an isolation note from NHS 111.

The scheme is available for employees on a variety of contracts such as part time, full time or fixed term.

The news will  of course be welcomed by any businesses who are currently struggling with large numbers of employees off sick with Covid.

28 Days Self Certification for Employees

Cleare HR Case StudyTemporary changes came into force on 17 December 2021 (today) regarding employees’ rights to self certify when off sick from work.  Employees can now self  certify for a maximum of  28 days.   Before that date, employees could self certify for 7 days before having to provide a Fit Note from their GP in order to claim SSP.

  • The rule changes apply to absences which began on or after 10 December 2021 
  • The rule changes will continue for all absences which begin up until and including 26 January 2022
  • GPs will still provide Fit Notes for those who are off sick for more than 28 days during the time that the temporary change is in place
  • From 27 January 2022 Fit Notes will be required after 7 days as before.

This change has been bought in to allow GPs to focus on the booster roll out.

This must be first time that the self certification has changed and has been introduced by the government at very short notice.    Employers are advised to make sure that they send a copy of their self certificate to employees for them to complete as soon as they call in sick.

Sick absence records should still be kept during this period; and sick absence management can continue as before.

If you are concerned about the effect that this change may have then please do not hesitate to let me know.

Christmas Opening for 2021 and Merry Christmas !

A Merry Christmas from Cleare HR!

As usual I will be available to clients (old and new!) over the Christmas period so please do not hesitate to email or call if you need any HR assistance, with the exception of Christmas Day.  I thought I might give myself one day off this year!

So remember that you can contact me at or by calling 07788 994164

Thank you so much to my wonderful clients for their support during 2021 and I hope to speak to you again during 2022.

I hope that you have a fantastic Christmas and that you and your family stay well and Covid free.

With best wishes for the New Year!


Keep your employees safe and #BeAMate

This time of the year, the high street and nightlife across our major towns and cities are usually bustling. Whilst the risk of falling in the water after a night out may by more unlikely this year, there is still a major concern for individuals falling into cold water, whilst drunk or under the influence of drugs.

 December is a wonderful time to enjoy festivities and this year, we are more likely to see an increase in people drinking at home. Drinking at home often means more generous measures of alcohol. Many people will choose to spend extended spells in their family bubbles, only returning home to avoid the extended contact of staying overnight.

And the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Charity that enhances communities, so everyone can enjoy being in, on and around water safely, fears that people will head home, buoyed with festive cheer and unexpectedly fall into the water.

In a bid to encourage public-spiritedness around water safety, the Charity are launching their 2020 Don’t Drink and Drown campaign to get three key messages across

  • Stay safe
  • Plan a safe route home
  • Look after one another #BeAMate

On average, 73 people lose their life in an alcohol-related drowning incident each year. This figure represents over 20 per cent of annual accidental drowning incidents, with nearly 80 per cent of incidents at this time of year, happening in rivers.

Employers who hold drinks or Xmas parties near rivers, canals or other sources of water should think carefully about how their employees will get home.  Make sure that you staff are aware of the risks of drowning and to support their colleagues by not letting them walk alone near water if they have been drinking.

RLSS UK is urging people to be mindful, and plan their route home before the festivities begin. They are also calling on friends and family to ensure that, as they say goodbye to loved ones, they make sure they are choosing a safe route home, away from the water’s edge.


2022 Bank Holidays

For a Word Version please click here: Bank Holidays for 2022

UK Bank Holidays 2022


Title Date for 2022 Day for 2022
New Years’ Day 3 Jan Monday
Easter Friday 15 April Friday
Easter Monday 18 Monday Monday
May Day Bank Holiday 2 May Monday
Spring Bank Holiday 30 May Monday
Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday 3 June Friday
August Bank Holiday 29 August Monday
Christmas Day 26 December Monday
Boxing Day 27 December Tuesday

The House of Commons Needs to Rethink Maternity Cover

Female MPs are in a unique position.

They get paid maternity pay (6 months) but their post is not covered by someone else in their absence. So they have to do the work themselves – even though they are on maternity leave (theoretically).

So if they want to attend a debate in the Commons they probably have to take their babies with them as (I think) a lot of childcare is centred around babies older than 6 months. Now they are told not to bring babies into the Commons.

So why on earth can’t there be finances in place to pay for a temporary replacement for them in the same way that there is for most other women who work?

If small businesses can do this, so can all other organisations.

Click on the link below to see the story about the female MP at the centre of this story:

BBC News – MP told not to take her baby in the HoC

Updated Training Courses

For 2021 I am running (live) training courses at Sparsholt College, Winchester and delivering some webinars via MBL Seminars (online only :  some pre-recorded and some live).

As always, I am also available to deliver training courses on a client’s site.  This is often a more cost effective way for the client to train a number of staff.   I have done this for workers in all types of industry sectors – from manufacturing to marketing and  from GPs to IT staff.  So please do not hesitate to let me know if you have a group of staff who would benefit from some up-skilling in basic HR processes or their people skills.  The most popular in-house courses that I currently run are:

  • Wellbeing & Mental Health for Managers
  • Employment Know-How for Managers
  • Handling Dismissals and Redundancies
  • Interview Skills.

Webinars are a relatively new way of training delivery for me but prove very popular with those who just have half an hour at their desks for an update or introduction to a certain subject.  I find them quite fun to do!  I hope to be working on some more webinar titles for MBL over the coming months and will update you when these become available.

All the training that I am scheduled to run appears on my Training Courses page which I have just updated.  Please take a look to see if there is anything that you find of interest to you.

March 2021 Covid Updates

Let’s hope that all doggies and other pets bought during the lockdown/furlough period will still be looked after when their owners return to work.

Extension to Furlough

The government has announced an extension to the current furlough / CJR Scheme to the end of September 2021.  This extension must surely be the final one; and allows for employers to continue furloughing their employees for 3 months after the end of all lockdown restrictions which is planned for June 2021.  In order to avoid a surge in unemployment rates at the end of June 2021 the economy has 3 months to ‘bounce back’ and get any remaining furloughed employees back to work.  Employers will be expected to make a 10% contribution in July and a 20% contribution in August and September to the cost of each employee’s furlough pay.

Workplace Covid19 testing

Businesses of all sizes can now undertake lateral flow testing for their employees in order to test for Covid19.  There is a no longer a requirement for a minimum number of employees in order for employers to access the tests, which are available  from the government.

Lateral flow tests are not as accurate as the swab tests but they an improvement on no testing at all.  They are very quick, non-intrusive and simple to use.

These tests are available for free via the government’s website – see link below. You must register by 31 March 2021.

An employer can also pay to have tests administered privately.

The End of Shielding In England

Shielding comes to an end in England on 1 April 2021.    Dates for other countries which form part of the UK may differ.  Employees who are affected by shielding may either wish to work from home or if that is not possible, they will need to return to their place of work.

The government will be writing to vulnerable employees who have been shielding in the 2nd/3rd week of March 2021.  Those workers will have had their first Covid19 vaccination but are still advised to keep social contact to a minimum.  Any workplace must be Covid secure for any previously shielding employees now returning to work.  SSP is no longer payable from 1 April 2021 for those who were shielding.

Dismissal for Not Wearing a Mask

A case has come to the Employment Tribunal service from an employee who was dismissed by his employer for refusing to wear a mask at work. The incident which led to the dismissal took place on a client’s site.  The employer decided that he could not continue to employ the worker, on the basis that he would not comply to this workplace requirement despite being warned.

The judge ruled that this was a fair dismissal and took into account the fact that the employee did not show any remorse for his actions.  The employer followed a fair process in making this dismissal.

Each case bought before an Employment Tribunal is based on the particular facts of that case and may be subject to appeal by the employee.  Similar cases may lead to different outcomes in other courts which are part of the Tribunal system.  However it is useful for employers to know that in principle they may be able to make a fair dismissal where employees continue to flout rules over mask wearing.

hr human resources adviser advice support help consultant southampton hants winchester employment



Employers who wish to make any dismissal are welcome to call me for advice on 07788 994164.


Pay Review and National Minimum Wage

human resources hr advisor adviser help support advice consultant southampton hants winchester National Minimum Wage Increases : To take effect from 1 April 2021

Last  Autumn it was thought that the government might not increase the National Minimum Wage this year as a response to the current economic situation…..That has proved not be the case with rises taking affect from April 2021.

Whilst on the subject of pay…we may have expected that the commitment of nursing staff shown during the pandemic would be reflected in this year’s pay award.  Nurses however will only receive a 1% rise; and this may surprise many.  The government however refer to affordability as the main criteria for their decision and also state that nursing staff are already well paid.  They point to the fact that they have little problem with recruiting staff as interest in nursing has increased over the last few months.  Had the NHS faced problems with recruitment then they may have taken a different approach.  The public sector is also doing well in retaining staff; as job security is valued by workers when unemployment is high.

Businesses may wish to use similar criteria when deciding what approach they wish to take when deciding on this year’s pay review.  They will need to take into account what they need to put in place in order to recruit and retain their staff, how much they can afford and to what extent they wish to reward & motivate their star performers.  The impact of Covid19 on the workforce may have changed the focus of the businesses in how they decide on pay awards this year.

So back to the National Minimum Wage.   Increases are as follows:

  • National Living Wage to increase 2.2%, from £8.72 to £8.91 per hour.  This now applies to anyone over the age of 23.
  • National Minimum Wage (for those aged 21-22 years) to increase 2%, from £8.20 to £8.36 per hour
  • National Minimum Wage (for those aged 18-20 years) to increase 1.7% from £6.45 to £6.56 per hour
  • National Minimum Wage (for those aged under 18years) to increase 1.5% from £4.55 to £4.62 per hour
  • Apprenticeship Wage (until the apprentice is aged over 19 years) to increase 3.6% from £4.15 to £4.30 per hour.

Employers are advised to write to their staff to confirm any increase to their pay and the date from which the rise is effective.