NI Employment Law: What We Learned Last Quarter (Q2 2022)

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 4 July 2022
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Four Day Week; Remote and Hybrid Working; Pride Month; Trade Unions

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 2 of 2022 - click on the links below to find out more.In the PRIDE month of Junewe saw strikes and trade union disputes and the rising cost of living hitting the headlines. Also, this quarter the four-day week trial started, working from home took a bashing and Legal Island’s Comparative Law Table was updated and re-launched!   

Four-day Week Trial Starts 

Thousands of UK workers started a four-day week trialin June. About 70 companies are taking part in what is thought to be the world's biggest pilot scheme into the working pattern over the next six months. During the trial, employees will get 100% pay for 80% of the hours they would usually work, with the aim of being more productive. Academics from Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well experts at Boston College in the US, will manage the experiment in partnership with the think tank Autonomy. 

Tech Monitor has a very interesting article on past research in this area - a 4-day week doesn't suit everyone, but it seems to work for most. 

And if you want to know more, why not have a listen to New Zealand-based innovator, entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Barnes as he explains why he set up 4 Day Week Global and how countries and organisations that have moved to adopt a 4 day working week model are reaping the rewards that come from having a happier, more productive workforce. 

Working from Home 

Nearly half of employees are trying to persuade their managers to allow them to work from home more often to mitigate rising fuel costs, research has revealed.A poll of 2,922 workers by Randstad UK found 45 per cent were pushing for more remote work amid the cost-of-living crisis. 

The backlash by some bosses against working from home continued with some suggesting there may be more shirking than working! 

Tesla boss Elon Musk last week ordered staff to return to the office full-time, declaring that working remotely is no longer acceptable. The new policy was shared in emails that were leaked to social media. People who are unwilling to abide by the new rules can "pretend to work somewhere else" Mr Musk said on Twitter, when asked about the policy. "Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week," he wrote in one of the emails. "If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned." Nice. Maybe Elon should read this article from the CIPDwhich says that a growing number of employers have reported an increase in productivity as they take up home and hybrid working. 

Need some advice on How Should Employers Approach the Issue of Employees Returning to the Office?Seamus McGranaghan of O’Reilly Stewart has some useful tips. 

Want to find out more? Sign up for the Legal Island Annual Review of Employment Law on 16th & 17th November 2022 when Seamus McGranaghan will discuss shirking verses working! For more information on the Annual Review, why not listen in to the launch webinar on Thursday 7th July?  

Comparative Law – GB, NI, ROI 

Our Comparative Employment Law Table highlighting recent developments in employment law on the Island of Ireland and GB was updated and launched in June. In association with Lewis Silkin, the table outlines the key differences in a range of employment areas across the jurisdictions of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and GB.  

And to complement the Table, why not have a listen to our second webinar in our comparative law series with Lewis Silkin entitled “Equality laws - fit for purpose or ripe for reform?”.  

June was PRIDE Month 

June was PRIDE Month, so many companies are displaying rainbow logos and waving rainbow flags on social media or in the office. But what does it mean? How can HR leaders ensure that their efforts to recognize LGBTQ+ employees provide meaningful support and allyship?HR Exchange Network has a useful article on 6 ways you can support your colleagues. 

Strikes and Trade Union Disputes 

Strikes and trade Union disputes reared their heads this quarter, and dominated the newspaper headlines with Criminal Barristers and Solicitors, Easyjet Cabin Crew, BA Staff at Heathrowand Rolls-Royce all warming up for walk-outs – are we in line for a winter of discontent? Let’s hope we make it through the summer without too much pain first………. 

The government wants to stop strikes from disrupting key public services and preventing people from getting to work.  Legislation likely to be introduced in GB next month, repeals what it calls “burdensome legal restrictions” and will give businesses impacted by strike action the freedom to tap into the services of employment businesses who can provide skilled, temporary agency staff at short notice to cover essential roles for the duration of a strike.  

The TUC are less than impressed by this proposal, while The Recruiter says the Government’s plan to replace strikers with agency workers failed in 2015 – and still won’t work today. 

Want to know more about what's happening with these strikes and disputes? Mark McAllister of the LRA discussed this and more during our Employment Law at 11 webinar -listen again now

This article is correct at 04/07/2022

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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