NI Employment Law: What We Learned Last Quarter (Q1 2022)

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 4 April 2022
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Covid-19; 4 day Week; Parental Bereavement Leave; Redundancy; International Women’s Day

Every three months we update you with some of the key developments in employment law and practice affecting the Northern Ireland workplace in the quarter. 

You’ll find many more learning points on the Northern Ireland Employment Law Hub, but here are a few highlights from quarter 1 of 2022 - click on the links below to find out more: 

  • It's back! Legal Island's Comparative Employment Law Table made a welcome return to the NI Employment Law hub. It was originally published for our Annual Review of Employment law in November and covered Gb and NI. We’re delighted to confirm that it’s been updated and expanded to include the Republic of Ireland – it now compares three jurisdictions - GB, NI and ROI. Very useful I’m sure you’ll agree! And Ciara Fulton and Siobhra Rush of Lewis Silkin spoke with Legal Island’s Christine Quinn and took a deep-dive into the Table and discussed the key changes you need to look out for in the coming months. Access the recording here.  
  • Vento Bands and the annual increase in limits orders were published, increasing the value of a week’s pay for redundancy, unfair dismissal awards etc from £566 to £594.  You can see the full range of increases in our handy table here.
  • The conflict in Ukraine is having a devastating impact on many lives with repercussions felt around the world. Whether their workers or their families are directly affected, employers will want to help their people as best they can during this troubling time. The CIPD has collated resources to support employers and people professionals in this task. SHRM also compiled a helpful bank of articles on how the crisis is affecting employees and how employers can respond. It has also been reported by RTE that there has been a spike in cyber-attacks seen since start of Ukraine invasion. And if cyber-security is your thing, join us at our Data Protection event in May.
  • We marked International Women’s Day on 8th March with an ‘In Brief’ article focussed on all things female. Meanwhile had the privilege of speaking with Mrs Justice Ayesha A. Malik, noted to be the first woman to be sworn into the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In the interview the judge reflects on her career in the law, the importance of women in leadership roles and what International Women’s Day means to her. This certainly struck a better note to mark the day than the faux-pas (to say the least!) committed by the London Dungeon, as reported in the Daily Mail. They have come under fire for their 'astonishing lack of judgement' after renaming notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper to Jackie to mark International Women's Day. Can't imagine why.
  • We got an answer (of sorts) in the ‘gay cake’ case - Lee v Ashers was heard by the UK Supreme Court in 2017. The claimant lost his case against the bakery who had refused to bake a cake with a message on it in support of same-sex marriage. Mr Lee lodged a claim with the European Court of Human Rights, saying the UKSC decision was in breach of his rights under the Convention. The Court has rejected his claim as inadmissible: he had failed to invoke his rights under the ECHR in the UK proceedings (notwithstanding that the owners of the bakery based their case largely on their rights under the convention and the domestic courts considered those) and so had not exhausted the domestic remedies open to him.
  • The UK's 4-day week pilot programme launched at the start of the year.  The pilot is a coordinated, 6-month trial in the UK of a four-day working week, with no loss in pay for employees. It runs alongside similar pilot schemes taking place in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The pilot is being coordinated by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with the UK think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University. If you join you will have unparalleled access to the expertise, tools and resources you will need to run a smooth and successful trial. If you’re not convinced, listen to this inspiring extract form Legal Island’s International HR Day event in which Andrew Barnes, New Zealand-based innovator, entrepreneur and philanthropist, makes a very compelling case for reducing working hours and increasing productivity.
  • As the war for talent continues, it has been reported that graduate lawyers are being placed on starting salaries of £150,00; Sainsburys has raised it’s basic rate from £9.50 to £10 per hour and the TUC urges Government to raise the NMW to £10 per hour as pay rises fail to keep up with the cost of living.
  • We have all been shocked by the recent P&O redundancies and Seamus McGranaghan outlined the legal requirements around redundancy consultation and notification in the recent ‘Employment Law@11’ webinar.  The boss of P&O, Peter Hebblethwaite has admitted to MP’s that not consulting on the job cuts broke the law and a new Code of Practice on ‘fire and rehire’ strategies has been announced for GB, outlining steps an employer should follow to prevent situations like P&O occurring. 

These and many more stories can be found on the Legal Island Employment Law hub here

This article is correct at 04/04/2022

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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