Retail Snapshot : 2022 In View

Wednesday 5th January 2022

A new year is upon us, and there are many legal and regulatory changes on the horizon.  Our 2022 Retail Snapshot is designed to help retail businesses in the UK stay up to date.

Please contact one of our Retail Experts to talk about what these changes mean for you and your business.

We will be providing more detailed updates on our social media channels as the year progresses.

#TheRetailDetail

March

Important protections for commercial tenants affected by Covid-19 to end

Provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 protecting commercial tenants from eviction and being sued for rent arrears by their landlords are due to expire on 25 March 2022.

Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill

The draft bill sets out a new Code of Practice to guide landlord and tenant negotiations in respect of rent arrears accrued under business tenancies adversely affected by COVID-19. The draft legislation is expected to come into force before current tenant protections expire on 25 March 2022.

The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

The regulations come fully into force in March and update existing UK anti-money laundering legislation to implement changes in the EU anti-money laundering framework. The changes largely relate to the UK’s register of express trusts, as well as banking, discrepancy reporting, and customer due diligence on listed companies.

House of Commons 2nd Reading of Employment Bill

This Bill seeks to amend the Companies Act 2006 such that qualifying companies be required to appoint at least one worker representative director to the board of the company. The aim of the provision is to bring the perspective of a worker to the boardroom rather than to directly represent the interests of the company’s workers.

April

Increase in the National Living Wage (NLW) to be applied from 1 April 2022

Announced in the 2021 Autumn Budget, the NLW increases are set to impact every age band, from apprentices to individuals aged 23 and over. In total, the annual gross earnings of a full-time worker on the NLW will have increased by over £5,000 since its introduction in April 2016.

Plastic Packaging Tax introduced from April 2022

Any plastic packaging items manufactured in or imported into (either as filled product or otherwise) the UK shall be taxable under the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) where that packaging contains less than 30% recycled plastic. The tax will be charged at a rate of £200 per tonne.

Gender pay gap reporting due

Private and voluntary sector organisations with a headcount of 250 or more employees as of 5 April 2021 must report and publish gender pay gap information by 5 April 2022.

Reforms for trade unions and employers’ associations

Reforms will give greater enforcement powers to the union’s Certification Officer, bringing their function in line with other regulators. The Officer will be able to investigate a union or employers’ association where there is concern of a breach of the organisation’s statutory duties.

Social Care Tax

The Government will implement a 1.25% increase in National Insurance Contributions for working age employees to be ringfenced to fund investment in health and social care. This levy will be formally separated out to become a separate tax on earned income from April 2023.

Finance Bill 2022

The 2022 Finance Bill is likely to have wide-ranging implications, including income tax basis period reform, the requirement for large businesses to notify HMRC when they take an uncertain tax position, and an increase in Normal Minimum Pension Age (NMPA) from 55 to 57 (to be implemented April 2028).

Business rates relief for retail

Eligible properties will receive a 50% business rates relief in 2022/23, up to a per business cap of £110,000. The relief will also apply to property in the hospitality and leisure sectors. Alongside the relief measures, the Government has decided to maintain the freeze on the business rates multiplier for a second year, from 1 April 2022 until 31 March 2023, keeping the multipliers at 49.9p and 51.2p respectively.

Proposed changes to The Personal Protective Equipment at Work 1992 Regulations (PPER)

The proposed changes, set to be implemented in April 2022, would require employees in England, Scotland and Wales to ensure that appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided to employees and workers who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work. Currently, employers only have a duty to their ‘employees’ in respect of PPE, therefore this has ability to widen the scope of obligations placed on businesses to which this applies.

May

Vertical Block Exemption Regulation review

Current EU rules set out in the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) are due to expire on 31 May 2022. The EU Commission hopes to have revised rules in place by this date, ensuring EU antitrust law remains up to date in light of the significant economic changes that have taken place since adopting the VBER in 2010.

EU Consumer Law Directives review

The review forms part of the EU’s Omnibus Directive which seeks to strengthen the enforcement of EU consumer law and comes into force 28 May 2022. While the UK is no longer an EU Member State, UK businesses selling to consumers in the EU will need to comply with the new rules.

October

Restrictions on food retailers’ promotion of products high in fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS)

Medium and large businesses, including those with 50 or more employees, will be required to phase out multibuy promotions such as “buy one get one free” or “3 for 2” offers on HFSS products.

December

UKCA Marking to be adopted on 1 Jan 2023

After 31 December 2022, previously accepted product safety markings, such as the CE mark used during the UK’s membership of the EU, shall be replaced by the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking.

2022 changes without specific dates

International Data Transfer Agreement: Final versions due early 2022 with a grace period for implementation

The International Data Transfer Agreement (IDTA) will be a UK-specific contractual mechanism for transferring personal data outside of the UK (to replace the EU standard contractual clauses post Brexit). This is due early 2022.

Environmental Bill: Response due early / mid-2022

The Bill would see the establishment of an environmental watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection, and would give the Government powers to set national targets for air quality, water pollution and waste.

Consultation on the UK product safety review: Response due 2022

The consultation sought to gather evidence from businesses and individuals with respect to how the UK can modernise consumer protection and product safety frameworks. A response, and any resulting legislative proposals, is to be expected at some point in 2022.

Extension of shop workers’ rights to opt-out of working Sundays to include additional hours

Shop workers may already opt out of working Sundays, for example on family or religious grounds. In 2022, the Government is due to extend these rights to include ‘additional hours’, being contractual hours which employees can be asked to work in excess of their normal hours.