Covid-19 update

The Northern Ireland Engagement Forum was established by the Department for the Economy.  It is chaired by the Labour Relations Agency and comprises the Confederation of British Industry, Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses NI, Institute of Directors, Manufacturing NI, NI Retail Consortium, the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, SOLACE, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and the Public Health Agency.  The Forum advises the NI Executive on how best to manage the challenges Covid-19 places on NI businesses and workers.

The Forum has produced A Practical Guide to Making Workplaces Safer to support organisations and workers across Northern Ireland. We have also produced a Working from Home guide.

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Key resources

Priority services

  • Employees

    Workplace Information Service

    The Workplace Information Service, which provides information to employers and employees about employment matters – this service is available by telephoning 03300 555 300, or visit the information pages on this site.

  • Employers

    Early conciliation and employer-led conciliation

    Further information on these services, and how to access them, is available here. These services will not, however, be delivered face to face.

Latest News

- GB's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published the report from a review into workplace support for victims of domestic abuse and an open letter to employers.

- Furlough to remain open til 30 April 2021

- New law to ensure furloughed employees receive full redundancy payments

- Parents returning to work after maternity and paternity leave eligible for furlough

Our approach

Given the ongoing threat to public health posed by Covid-19, we have regrettably had to make a number of changes to the services provided by the Labour Relations Agency.

These changes are to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and their families, and our customers.  We also want to ensure that we continue to deliver those services that are of most importance to our customers at this critical time.

The Agency is not conducting face to face meetings with customers.  We endeavour to hold meetings by alternative means such as video conferencing or teleconference.  Our staff will, in general, be working remotely and our offices are closed to visitors.

The pandemic has caused a very significant increase in demand for Conciliation and our Workplace Information Service (03300 555 300). In order to cope with demand we have had to pause Mediations and Independent Appeals (apart from those relating to dismissal and redundancy).  These will be reinstated when demand returns to normal levels or additional resources can be found.

Our programme of public and in-company seminars and workshops has also been postponed for the time being, but we are continuing to develop and publish webinars on key topics such as Redundancy, Mental Health and Discipline and Dismissal.

At this time we believe our approach to the threat is proportionate, but it may change depending on public health advice and the impact of the virus on our staff.

All Agency staff can continue to be contacted via email or via our main telephone number 03300 552 220.  To make an Early Conciliation Notification go to https://ec-lra.org.uk  or telephone 03300 552 224. 

About the Labour Relations Agency

We provide an impartial and confidential employment relations service to those engaged in industry, commerce and the public services. Our services include the provision of advice on good employment practices and assistance with the development and implementation of employment policies and procedures. We are also active in resolving disputes through our conciliation, mediation and arbitration services.