Northern Ireland Employment Law In Brief: May 2022

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 9 June 2022
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Seafarer Minimum Wage Laws; Parental Bereavement Leave; Safe Leave; Office Housework

This month’s 'In Brief' brings together a range of resources and articles that we’ve found interesting this spring. We’ve highlighted the key themes, to help you keep up to date with developments.  Menopause continued to climb the HR agenda this spring, meanwhile P&O caused a stir with their mass redundancies forcing the government to step in and here in NI we got not one but two new pieces of legislation, despite the continuing issues with the Folks on the Hill. 

Menopause Symptoms are Forcing Women Out of the Workplace 

Menopause and its impact on the workplace and workforce continued to be high up the HR news agenda this spring with the CIPD reporting on their survey that showed that nearly one million women have had to leave their jobs due to uncomfortable menopausal symptoms: 

How HR can stop women of menopausal age from leaving their jobs – People Management: 

FSB Support on “Business Without Barriers”: 

And Davina McCall's second documentary on the menopause aired in May on Channel 4. Well worth a watch. Catch up here: 

And if there’s no women left in the workplace when they become menopausal, the question is, who’ll book the Christmas party………….?! 

Why Women Should Say No to ‘Office Housework’ 

The Guardian has an interesting article on 'office housework', described in a new book that argues that “non-promotable work” – the kind that is important to organisational functioning, but unlikely to be rewarded or even recognised – is the invisible hurdle to gender equality in the workplace, with women’s time and energy being disproportionately expended on thankless tasks. 

Over years of research the writers found that across the public and private sectors, and a wide range of roles, female employees were shouldering the burden of “office housework” and low-value assignments, causing them to miss out on promotions and pay increases. 

For junior women, it seemed to come at the expense of meaningful work, with junior men spending about 250 more hours each year on high-value work such as with clients. Senior women, on the other hand, spent the same amount of time on promotable tasks as senior men – meaning they just worked more hours in total. 

What do you think? More from the Guardian: 

Seafarer Minimum Wage Laws Set Sail 

Following P&O Ferries’ decision to sack 800 workers, the government is introducing pay protection reforms requiring ferry operators who regularly call at UK ports to pay their workers the equivalent of the UK national minimum wage. 

The new legislation will ban ferries that don’t pay their workers the equivalent to minimum wage from docking at UK ports. 

In addition to The Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill on securing an equivalent to the UK national minimum wage for seafarers regularly entering UK ports, the government is continuing positive bilateral discussions with France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Ireland and Denmark. This is to ensure routes between the countries become ‘minimum wage corridors’, where seafarers on routes between either country must be paid at least the equivalent of the minimum wage. 

Paid Leave for Bereaved Parents and Victims of Domestic Violence 

Despite the recent political instability at Stormont, two significant pieces of legislation were introduced regarding employee leave entitlements prior to the dissolution of the Assembly ahead of the elections on 5 May.  They were: 

  1. Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022; and 

  1. Domestic Abuse (Safe Leave) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022. 

The first piece of legislation, which came into effect on 6 April 2022, provides parents with 2 weeks’ paid leave following the trauma of the death of a child under 18, or if they suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation also provides for those who suffer a miscarriage to be entitled to paid leave, with the Act stipulating that such rules are to be introduced by 6 April 2026. 

The second piece of legislation entitles victims of domestic abuse to no less than 10 days’ paid leave (whether or not taken as a single or continuous period) in each leave year for the purpose of dealing with issues related to domestic abuse. This is known as ‘safe leave.’ 

In her latest article for Legal Island, Leeanne Armstrong, Partner at TLT NI LLP, sets out how the legislation will work: 

This article is correct at 09/06/2022

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.

Legal Island
Legal Island

The main content of this article was provided by Legal Island. Contact telephone number is 028 9446 3888 / 01 401 3874 or email

View all articles by Legal Island