What We Learned Last Quarter: April 2024

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 11 April 2024
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: AI, Childcare, Family Friendly Rights, Data Protection, Health & Safety

Q1 of 2024 is over!  Whether you are a legal aficionado or an HR connoisseur, catch up below…

Case Law

Wendy Irvine's dismissal fiasco at Optilase (UK) Ltd (Irvine v Optilase (UK) Ltd [2024] NIIT 7465/21 ) serves as a cautionary tale against assuming resignations. Let's not play guessing games with employment statuses.  Clarity and adherence to dismissal procedures are your best friends: Don't gamble with ambiguity.

Meanwhile, Peter Kelly v Department for Communities and Department of Finance [2023] NIIT 5641/20 reminds us to prioritise equality to avoid legal quagmires and foster a harmonious workplace.  Neurodiversity in the workplace (and this case) was covered in March’s Employment Law at 11 – catch up HERE.


It’s all money!  A multi-million pound AI centre is to open in NI, and, despite a hefty £100 million investment in AI research and regulation, experts warn that the UK may still lack the firepower to tackle the technology's risks head-on.  

AI Protocols: A Missing Link for 75% of Employers - Gallagher's 2023/24 State of the Sector report reveals that a whopping 75% of organizations neglect to provide AI protocols for internal communicators.

Still unsure about the use of AI?  This quarter brought the arrival of Legal Island's podcast: five-minute snippets that delve into the world of AI in HR, providing insights into the challenges and opportunities it presents.

Are you more of a visual learner?  Kieran Gilmurray, broke it all down in his webinar and demo video.  Catch up HERE.

National Minimum Wage & Vento Band Updates: April 2024

Speaking of money, the National Minimum Wage rates have been updated, with the national living wage taking centre stage (£11.44 for those 21 and over). Also, don’t forget: the annual update of Vento Bands took place (with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £58,700.)

Childcare Conundrum: NI's £400m Strategy

Education Minister Paul Givan suggests a £400 million investment for Northern Ireland's early learning and childcare strategy. Parents demand equitable support, echoing the cries across the UK.

Job Search Pursuits: The Quest for Support

Two in five working parents in the UK are eyeing new job prospects in search of better pay and family support, reports Bright Horizons' Modern Families Index. Employers, take note! 

We are feeling a little left behind, here in NI, as GB benefits from a wave of family-friendly rights, in particular around flexible working and carer’s leave.  Will NI follow suit?  Answers on a postcard, please!  For tips on how to create a family-friendly workplace in NI, look no further than our latest article.

Data Protection and Health & Safety Updates

There were fines for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Lagan Construction Limited following the death of a worker during Storm Ali, and Boeing's CEO is stepping down amid safety concerns after a 737 Max incident.  Safety protocols are essential to prevent such tragedies.

And the ICO's latest guidance arrived, shedding light on monitoring workers while respecting data protection rights.

Lastly, thank you for getting in touch.  You spoke, and we listened!

Keeping up with NI employment updates can feel like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle during one of our storms - just when you think you've got it together, a new piece flies in from left field!  Don’t worry: Legal Island have got you covered!

This article is correct at 11/04/2024

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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Legal Island

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