HR Update – June 2020

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 9 June 2020
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Coronavirus; Remote Working; Redundancy

During the Covid-19 pandemic, one thing has remained clear – the HR profession has never been busier, or more in demand.  Conscious of the need for relevant and timely guidance we have endeavoured to ensure we have a wide range of articles and webinars to help our HR colleagues cope with the increased demands on their time. 

Here are a few of the recent articles and webinars we have added to our website over the last couple of months:

COVID-19 – A Guide To Essential Policies And Procedures For Employers – Leeanne Armstrong, TLT, examines the key policies, procedures and guidance that employers may need to look to in challenging times such as the Covid-19 Pandemic.   Leeanne also considers how Whistleblowing Policies may need to be updated to take account of the impact of the pandemic.

Redundancy Consultation During Furlough – How Do I Handle It? –Patricia Rooney, Tughans, discusses an employer’s consultation obligations in a redundancy situation including staff who are absent on furlough.

Changes to the Job Retention Scheme; 'Flexible Furlough' – Scott Alexander, Legal Island Seamus McGranaghan, O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors, answer your questions in relation to amendments to the Job Retention Scheme in our most recent ‘Employment Law@11’ webinar.

Can an employer withdraw offers of employment or delay start dates for new recruits in light of Covid-19? – Johanna Cunningham, Arthur Cox Solicitors provides answers to this and many other questions in our regular First Tuesday feature.

Work Life Balance and Remote Working - Claire McKee, Clarendon Executive discusses the importance of achieving a work life balance as we all work from home amidst the challenge of having a spouse or children around. 

Managing and Motivating Homeworkers in the New World of Work – listen again as Barry Phillips, Chair of Legal Island discusses the challenges for line managers in managing remote workers and keeping them motivated, along with Emer Hinphey, Think People and Louise Smith, MCS Group. This webinar is hosted by Sarah Travers.

Many of us will have experienced a bereavement during the Coronavirus Pandemic, whether that is to the virus itself or other medical condition. In this moving article Ogla Pollock outlines the importance that kindness from her employer was in helping her deal with the loss of her mother. 

For those parents of school age children among us, you may also be interested in recent articles from Frank Cassidy, who discusses the impact of the pandemic on schools in his articles concerning the debate around the suspension of the AQE and the reopening of schools.  

Upcoming Events

We have been very busy during the lockdown to explore how we can continue to provide top class employment law events for our customers and we have two upcoming events on offer:  Redundancy and Reorganisation in NI in association with A&L Goodbody and Diversity and Inclusion – A Practical Guide in association with Pinsent Masons.  You can find out more about these on our events page here.

Finally, the recruitment for the 2020 Boardroom Apprentice Scheme opened on the 6th June.  If you would like to find out a bit more about the scheme then why not tune into our webinar with Eileen Mullan, Founder Boardroom Apprentice and Mary Kitson, Senior Legal Officer with the Equality Commission and current Boardroom Apprentice as they discuss the benefits of the programme for Apprentices, their employers and the host organisation with Rolanda Markey, Legal island, during a webinar on the 15th June 2020 at 1pm.  You will have the opportunity to ask questions live and benefit from Mary Kitson’s experiences as an apprentice. Register here.

Redundancy Issues

An inevitable outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a global downturn in many businesses and while many organisations are preparing for re-opening for others there will be a need to reduce costs and headcount.  We have a range of helpful resources for managing redundancy situations like:

  • Redundancy for Employees With Less than Two Years’ Service – How Do I Handle It? – by Jennifer Cashman, RDJ
  • Guidance for Employers implementing a redundancy selection process in the wake of COVID-19 – by Sheila Spokes, Leman Solicitors
  • How To: Successfully Manage Cutbacks In The Pandemic – by Dr Gerry McMahon

Business Re-Opening

The Irish Government's COVID-19 Specific National Protocol for Employers and Workers (the "Protocol") was published on Friday, 8 May. The Protocol sets a high bar for employers who are preparing to re-open their workplaces in the coming weeks and months as outlined in the Roadmap to Re-Opening Ireland.  We have a number of recourses to help provide some interpretation of the Safety Protocol including:

  • Preparing To Return To The Workplace - Guidance For Employers In Ireland - this really helpful guide, Karen Killalea, Ciara Ni Longaigh and James Scanlon of Maples Employment team in Dublin set out the key obligations for employers as workplaces re-open.
  • COVID-19: Returning to the Workplace - Employment Law and HR Considerations – this webinar with Jennifer Cashman, RDJ and Scott Alexander, Legal Island provided insight into the Safety Protocol for Returning to the Workplace and was packed full of helpful guidance.
  • The National Return to Work Safely Protocol – What it Means in Practical Terms – also by RDJ, Caoimhe Heery discusses what the National Return to Work Safely Protocol, which was published on the 9th May 2020 means in practical terms for Employers.
  • HR challenges arising during business re-opening – this webinar with Caroline McEnery from the HR Suite takes place today at 2pm and focuses on the HR issues around employees returning to the workplace. The recording will be available on the website from the 3rd June here.

Remote Working

While remote working has been a life saver for many organisations in ensuring that many services can continue to operate it has not been without its challenges for Line Managers and the HR profession.  Issues have arisen around work/life balance; dealing with disciplinary and grievance issues and communication and engagement.  Here are a few resources that may prove helpful in dealing with issues arising during remote working:

These and many more articles and webinars are available on the Legal Island Employment Law hub.  You can also keep up to date with upcoming events and webinars here.


This article is correct at 09/06/2020

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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