enzh-CNzh-TWcsethigalvltplptrusk

B

Ballot – For Industrial Action

In order for Industrial Action to be lawful a Trade Union must conduct a secret ballot of the workforce prior to the taking of any industrial action.  

Code of Practice - Industrial Action Ballots and notice to Employers

Bargaining Unit

Refers to a particular group or category of workers for whom a Trade Union seeks recognition to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of in relation to pay, hours and holidays. The bargaining unit will usually be clearly stated in a Recognition Agreement. 

Bereavement Leave

There is no set amount of bereavement leave laid down by law. Employers can set their own limits but this should be done with sensitivity based on the individual circumstances and the employee’s relationship to the deceased. As a general rule the closer the relation, the longer the bereavement leave but remember that an Aunt, Uncle or Cousin etc. could be the nearest or closest relative and individual circumstances should always be explored and taken into account. Under Time off for dependants the employee has a statutory right to reasonable time off without pay to deal with a death of a dependant.

Employees

Time off for dependants

Employers

Time off to deal with emergencies involving dependants

LRA Guide - Managing Bereavement in the workplace

Breach of Contract

In an employment context a breach of contract occurs if either the employee or employer fails to discharge one or more of their contractual obligations. For example, an employer could breach the contract by imposing a reduction in pay without the agreement of the employee, or an employee could breach the contract by refusing to carry out an essential duty or disclosing confidential company information to a third party.  A fundamental breach to the root of the contract by an employer may entitle an employee to resign claiming Constructive Dismissal.  A breach on the part of the employee may justify disciplinary/dismissal action by the employer depending on the seriousness of the breach.  

LRA - Advisory Guide - Advice on agreeing and changing contracts of employment

Employees

Breach of contract

Employers

The employment contract

Breastfeeding Mothers

An employer has an obligation to provide employees who are breastfeeding with a place to rest and suitable rest periods, though an employee is not legally entitled to time off work for breastfeeding.

Employees

Statutory Maternity Leave: returning to work

Employers

Maternity leave and pay

Bullying and Harassment

Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect at work. Bullying and harassment of any kind should not be tolerated. If you feel you have been bullied or suffered harassment check - Harassment & Bullying in the Workplace a joint guide by The Labour Relations Agency & Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

Bumping – Redundancy

Bumping is a term used to describe a situation in which, for example, a more junior employee is dismissed on grounds of redundancy in order to make way for a more senior employee whose post has become redundant.  The lawfulness of such actions will be dependant on the individual circumstances.

See also Redundancy

Burden of Proof

Refers to the requirement for parties to an Industrial Tribunal to prove their case, for example, in a case of Unfair Dismissal the Burden of Proof is on the employer to demonstrate that the dismissal was for a potentially fair reason and was the decision was reasonable.  In a case of Sex Discrimination a Claimant must set out a prima facia case of sex discrimination and the burden of proof then shifts to the employer to demonstrate than any less favourable treatment was not on the grounds of gender. 

Telephone Enquiry Point

The Agency’s Enquiry Point is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Enquiry Point advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Enquiry Point is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.

The Enquiry Point provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.

While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.

028 9032 1442

Monday - Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

Contact Us

Please note that we cannot deal with employment-related enquiries by e-mail. To receive information or advice about an employment-related issue, please telephone our Helpline on Belfast 90 321442 where an officer will speak with you directly about your query. Please note that the Agency can arrange the services of an interpreter if required.

If you have an employment relations issue in Great Britain please contact the ACAS Helpline on 0300 123 1100 .

For all non-employment related queries or questions please fill in the box below.