Coronavirus Employment Update 3/4/2020

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 3 April 2020
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We have a number of employment news articles related to the Coronavirus this week including:

Legal Island Coronavirus Information in One Place – Latest Advice


Annual Leave Carry Over Extended
Economy Minister Diane Dodds has proposed to amend legislation to allow workers in Northern Ireland unable to take holiday leave as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak to carry over their annual leave to the next two leave years.  The change to the Working Time Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 legislation would bring Northern Ireland in line with changes made in Great Britain last week.

Engagement Forum On Covid-19 Holds Its First Meeting
The priority of the Engagement Forum on Covid 19 is to protect the safety of all workers in the workplace, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said.  The Minister was speaking after the first meeting of the forum – set up to advise and support the Executive in its commitment to protect the safety of workers and safeguard the economy – took place by teleconference.  The meeting was chaired by Marie Mallon of the Labour Relations Agency and was attended by representatives from business organisations, trade unions, local councils, government, the Public Health Agency and the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland.  The forum has agreed to provide collective advice on the measures required to  protect the safety of key workers and essential businesses as well on the list of key workers and essential/non-essential businesses referred to in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020
Legal basis for restrictions on movement and closure of premises etc in NI:

NI Executive Daily Updates - keep up to date with the NI Executives daily Coronavirus Updates:

NI Unions United on Coronavirus

Acas - Webinar Recording - Coronavirus
Acas (the GB equivalent of the LRA) hosted a webinar on coronavirus this week.  Although there are references to GB laws, the general thrust of the webinar is sound for NI employers and you’ll pick up lots of useful information and ideas.
Register here to listen to the recording:

Or listen live to our webinar with the LRA and O’Reilly Stewart at 11.00 today:


Useful Article How to Conserve Take Home Cash for Furloughed Employees:


Government Advice on How to Claim Under Job Retention Scheme: 


The Job Retention Scheme - TLT Guidance on the scheme is available here:

Commons Briefing Paper - FAQs: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
This Commons Library briefing paper, published on 2nd April, provides answers to a number of frequently asked questions on the Government's new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. While some details of the Scheme have been published, much remains unknown. The paper considers how the Scheme will fit within the broader framework of employment law:

Coronavirus: 17,000 NI jobs to be furloughed
The BBC has reported that at least 17,000 jobs are to be furloughed in Northern Ireland under the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme. More:

BBC – Short Videos on Various Aspects of Coronavirus:
Lots of nice, short videos on how to safely clean your phone, do masks work?, four ways to protect yourself and much more:

Workers Concerns Published by BEIS Committee:  

The Pitfalls of Conference Video Calls:

HSC Workforce Appeal:
The HSC Workforce Appeal has been established by the Department of Health to manage the recruitment and deployment of healthcare professionals and non-healthcare workers across the health and social care system during the outbreak of Covid-19.  The response to Covid-19 is putting enormous pressure on the HSC and they are urgently seeking expressions of interest from Clinicians and Social Care Workers who are not already working in Northern Ireland's health and social care system or who have not been contacted as part of the final year medical, nursing, allied health and social care student recruitment programme.  Find out more here:

The Coronavirus Act 2020 
Employers should note that if an employee wishes to volunteer under the appeal there is no provision for blocking their right to leave work and volunteer, provided the employee provides the employer with three days' notice and a copy of their volunteering certificate, which they will have received in advance from an appropriate public authority.  All employee benefits, bar remuneration must be safeguarded and employee volunteers are protected against detriment and dismissal. Unlike other provisions in the Act, which are time-barred under a 'sunset clause', these employee protections have no automatic expiry.    

COVID-19 Legal Update: Considerations for businesses in Northern Ireland by Eversheds:

Need to Step up Mental Health Support
The CIPD has called on employers to do more work on supporting mental health of employees during the current crisis:  

The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Suspension of Waiting Days and General Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020
These Regulations suspend the limitation, set out in the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act (Northern Ireland) 1992, that Statutory Sick Pay is not payable for the first three qualifying days in a period of entitlement. They also amend the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1982 to specify when a person is isolating by reason of coronavirus is deemed to be incapable of work.

Statutory sick pay is not payable for the first three qualifying days of a period of entitlement to statutory sick pay. These days are known as “waiting days”. Regulation 3 disapplies the waiting days where an employee is incapable of doing the work the employee can reasonably be expected to do under the employee’s contract of service, or where the employee is deemed to be incapable, because of coronavirus. This applies retrospectively from 13th March 2020.

CIPD Review Rules on Self-Employed Support:  

NI Business Info Update on Business Support Grand Schemes:

No Charge for Single Use Carrier Bags in Home Delivery:


This article is correct at 03/04/2020

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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