NI Employment Law In Brief: March 2023

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 9 March 2023
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Strikes; AI; Women's Rights; Tran's Rights; Menopause

This month’s 'In Brief' focuses on the rise of Artificial Intelligence, employee well-being, Trans rights and Women’s rights and, sorry about this, strikes!............. Again!

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, specifically ChatGPT, dominated the headlines in February. Going from the stuff of science fiction to the tip of everyone’s tongue in conversations in offices across NI! Here’s a selection on some of the best articles we found.

Lewis Silkin asked if it’s time for a cyber-supervisor in this enlightening article. Meanwhile international law firm Allen & Overy announced that they are integrating Harvey, the artificial intelligence platform built on a version of Open AI models enhanced for legal work, into its global practice.

The Guardian reported that in the past, leaps in technology replaced low-paid jobs with a greater number of higher-paid jobs. This time, it may be different. The machines are coming, and they will eat your job. That’s been a familiar refrain down the years, stretching back to the Luddites in the early 19th century. In the past, step-changes in technology have replaced low-paid jobs with a greater number of higher-paid jobs. This time, with the arrival of artificial intelligence, there are those who think it will be different.

Legal Island’s own Barry Phillips took on the challenge of explaining the relevance of ChatGPT to our HR audience in his webinar “Understanding the relevance of ChatGPT to the world of HR. Five ways it will save your HR team time and money” and the recording can be found HERE.

Still questions about AI and ChatGPT? Why not join Barry at his re-run of the webinar on Tuesday 14 March at 1.30pm. Barry is also chairing a FREE webinar on 29th March - Special Edition: Unregulated Use of ChatGPT in the workplace – five things HR absolutely must do right now to reduce the risks of litigation – can you afford to miss it?

Strikes and Industrial Action

Teachers, firefighters, healthcare workers, postal workers, housing maintenance staff, among others all threaten or engaged in industrial action in February.

Chris Fullerton from Arthur Cox discussed the 'Impact of Industrial Action on Statutory and Contractual Employment Rights' in our First Tuesday Q&A series and answers your questions around pay, pension, annual leave and dismissal for staff involved in industrial action. And have a look at Frank Cassidy’s take on the Teacher Strikes: A Plea for Fairness!

Employee Financial Wellbeing: A Practical Guide

In the UK, over a quarter of employees say money worries affect their ability to do their job. While more employers are becoming aware and are recognising that financial wellbeing is more than just paying employees and providing a few benefits, it is still the least common area included in HR wellbeing strategies. The CIPD has compiled practical guidance to support HR in promoting and supporting employee wellbeing.

Women’s Rights


In February the government  rejected a number of recommendations made by the House of Commons Equality Committee, including that the government should:

  • in consultation with the Menopause Ambassador, produce model menopause policies to assist employers.
  • work with a large public sector employer with a strong public profile to develop and pilot a specific ‘menopause leave’ policy.
  • immediately commence section 14 of the Equality Act 2010; and
  • consult on making menopause a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

The Committee highlighted the low cost but high impact opportunities for model workplace menopause policies and menopause leave, which the government has dismissed.

Women ‘Work for Free for Nearly Two Months’

23 February 2023 was ‘women’s pay day’ – the first day of the year when the average woman effectively stops working for free because of the gender pay gap, according to the TUC. The UK’s gender pay gap in 2022 was 14.9%, according to the TUC’s analysis of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This means that women “work for free” for 54 days when compared with the total annual pay packets of the UK’s male population.

Tran’s Rights

Number of Trans-Related Employment Tribunals Increases

Employment disputes relating to alleged discrimination against transgender employees have more than doubled in the past year. Nine cases reached decision stage at employment tribunals in 2021-22 compared with four in the previous year, according to research by law firm GQ Littler. Examples of alleged discrimination included colleagues deliberately using the wrong pronouns when addressing transgender colleagues, transphobic comments on social media and transgender employees being harassed for using toilets and changing rooms aligned with their gender.

Don’t miss our annual HR Conference, happening on Wednesday 26th April, to keep up to date on the latest trends and best practices, and to gain valuable insights, knowledge, and inspiration.

The theme this year is Why 2023 is the Year of Women in the Workplace. The line-up of speaker's is second to none - Lauren Fabianski from campaigning group Pregnant then Screwed, feminist and ally Robert Baker, transgender campaigner and successful businesswoman Karen McShane and Founder of the Menopause Hub Loretta Dignam, to name but a few! All topped off with an essential legal update from Eversheds Sutherland (Pssst! There’s an Early Bird Rate until 31st March!)

This article is correct at 09/03/2023

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

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