In this blog, we look back at the year in HR that was 2021. It has been quite a year! Here are some of the key themes and events from the year…
The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on 31st December 2020, meaning that 2021 saw significant changes to the rights of EU citizens to live and work in the UK. As a result of this, employers have had to adjust to changes to immigration rules and right-to-work checks for their employees over the last year.
If you are an employer and haven’t updated your checks over the last year, or if you just need a refresher of the changes, more information is available on our blogs on the key related topics here: https://viewhr.co.uk/eu-settlement-scheme-and-right-to-work-checks-what-now/, https://viewhr.co.uk/post-brexit-rules-for-eu-nationals-for-employers/ and https://viewhr.co.uk/visa-sponsorship-information-guide/.
2020 saw the introduction of furlough leave, provided for by the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a parliamentary report, 11.7 million employee jobs had been furloughed through the CJRS, at a cost of £70 billion.
The CJRS was always intended to be a temporary measure to support employers and employees to remain employed during the pandemic, and at different points 2020 it was announced that the scheme would be ending. However, by the end of the year, strict Covid restrictions were being introduced again, and so furlough leave continued into 2021. The scheme ended on 30th September 2021.
Even though furlough leave may now be a thing of the past, it is still important that employers keep records from that time, in case of employee and HMRC queries. More guidance on what information you are required to keep and how long for, is available here.
With all of the above things happening, you may have missed changes relating to the obscurely-titled IR35 rules in 2021. These rules are designed to prevent tax avoidance, in particular through the disguised employment. However, even if you missed it in April, it is worth knowing the rules! The ViewHR team have produced a simple overview, available here.
Working from where?
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in people in suitable roles working from home. As we reach the end of 2021, and just as many employees had become used to either a full return to the office, or new hybrid working arrangements, in England the government have reintroduced guidance for those who are able to work from home to do so, due to the Omicron variant.
Here at ViewHR, we advise that employers set out clear expectations for when government guidance on this topic is in place, and when it is not (whenever in the future that will be!). Our blog on the topic of hybrid working is here to help with this. After another tumultuous year, what does 2022 have in store? At the time of writing, the government’s plans in relation to any future Covid-19 restrictions and support for businesses are a topic of much media speculation, but as yet are unknown. Given this, and how unpredictable the last two years have been in general, the ViewHR team cannot say with 100% certainty what 2022 will look like for HR. However, we have recently been invited to write a guest blog for HR recruiters Elliott Scott on this topic – please see here for our predictions.
The ViewHR team would like to wish all of our blog readers a very Merry Christmas, and thank you for following our content. Do you have any suggestions for HR topics you would like to see us cover in 2022? If so, please contact us with your suggestion.