Legislation

Welcome to the Labour Relations Agency’s employment legislation link pages. We have attempted to collate all relevant employment legislation (Primary and Secondary) on these pages for our users’ ease of reference. Essentially users will get a brief summary of the content of the legislation and then a link to the www.legislation.gov.uk website delivered by the National Archives via www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

By way of summary explanation this section of the website lists by year based index all relevant employment related Acts of Parliament - An Act of Parliament creates a new law or changes an existing law. An Act is a Bill approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and formally agreed to by the reigning monarch (known as Royal Assent). Once implemented, an Act is law and applies to the UK as a whole or to specific areas of the country. An example would be the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) which is UK wide.

In Northern Ireland employment law is a devolved matter and as such we can have an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly which only relates to this jurisdiction, for example, The Work and Families (Northern Ireland) Act 2015. As with Parliament the process begins with a Bill and has a passage of legislation (see below and for more detail http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/assembly-business/legislation/ )

However, the vast majority of employment law (which is a matter devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly) in Northern Ireland is derived from Statutory Rules which are a form of Delegated Legislation. These Statutory Rules are made to bring subordinate legislation law. Primary legislation (Acts) provides the powers to make subordinate legislation in the form of Statutory Rules (Regulations, Rules, Order and Bye-laws).

In general terms primary legislation provides the framework and subordinate legislation contains the details. As primary legislation takes up Assembly time, changes and amendments to the content of various legal measures can be made more quickly by the subordinate legislation process.

The amount of employment related Statutory Rules passed in Northern Ireland in a year can vary significantly for example there were 6 in 2009 but there were 32 in 2015.

Users who are looking to find Primary Legislation (either an Act of Parliament or an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly) should click on the box below entitled Index of Employment Related Statutes for Northern Ireland which is divided into 5 boxes which are date based and in chronological order, for example 1871-1976, 1977-1994, 1995-1999, 2000-2007, 2008-2016.

Users who are looking to find Delegated Legislation, primarily in the form of a Statutory Rule, should go to the relevant year in the year-based boxes listed below for an employment related Statutory Rule passed between 1996 and 2016, for example a popular search for an employment related piece of delegated legislation would be The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/1996/1919/contents.

If you do not know the year of the relevant legislation you can do a general search using the title/ relevant words here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/.

Employment law is a complicated field and there are now significant differences between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (click here... for GB v NI page) and it can often be difficult to determine what the legislation is, for example, An Act of the NI Assembly, an Order in Council, a Statutory Instrument, a Regulation, a Statutory Rule, an Act of Parliament, a Regulation etc. Thus, in many cases a general search can provide a quick answer and tips such as looking at the geographical extent column on the legislation page will show you if an Act of Parliament applies in Northern Ireland or not.

It should be noted that amendments are constantly being made and as such Acts can be subject to frequent amendment. Users should take note when going to the relevant pages there may be highlighting note which states: Changes to legislation – There are outstanding changes not yet made by the Legislation.gov.uk editorial team to this legislation. Those changes will be listed when you open the content using the Table of Contents method. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and will be annotated.

If you cannot find what you are looking for then you can contact the Labour Relations Agency via email at mailto:info@lra.org.uk or by phone at 02890 321442

Please note the Labour Relations Agency cannot be held responsible for the contents of external websites and links.

Search our legislation database

1 - 10 of 247 results
  • The Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (Commencement No. 3) Order (Northern Ireland) 2020

    This Order brings into operation certain provisions of the Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 on 27th January 2020.

    Article 2(a) to (e) commence provisions on early conciliation of employment disputes.

    Article 2(f) commences the provision which places an obligation on the Department to review early conciliation.

    Article 2(g) and (h) commences the provisions that permits the Department to make regulations which provide that the members of the panel of chairmen of industrial tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal may be referred to as employment judges.

    Article 2(i) commences the provision which prohibits the Labour Relations Agency, or persons appointed by the Agency, from releasing information relating to a worker, employer of a worker, or a trade union, that they hold in the course of performing their functions.

    Article 2(j) corrects a small number of references in the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992, dealing with statutory shared parental pay, which were introduced by the Work and Families Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

    Article 2(k) updates legislative references in Schedules 2 and 4 to the Employment (Northern Ireland) Order 2003.

    Article 2(l) and (o) gives effect to the dispute resolution repeals in Schedule 3 of the Act.

    Article 2(m) and (n) gives effect to Schedules 1 and 2, which respectively, make minor and consequential amendments to existing legislation, and set out how the relevant time limits for bringing a claim will be extended where necessary to provide sufficient time for early conciliation to take place and to ensure that the claimant is not disadvantaged.

  • The Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020

    The Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 amended the Industrial Tribunals (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 to introduce a requirement for prospective claimants to contact the Labour Relations Agency before they are able to present a claim to an industrial tribunal or the Fair Employment Tribunal. This requirement applies to claims which are relevant proceedings under Article 20(1) of the Industrial Tribunals Order or Article 38 of the Fair Employment and Treatment Order.

    Regulation 3 sets out the circumstances in which a claimant may present a claim dealing with relevant proceedings without complying with the requirement for early conciliation.

    The exemption in regulation 3(1)(a) relates to claimants who are presenting a claim on the same claim form as other claimants or joining a claim which has already been presented to an industrial tribunal or the Fair Employment Tribunal by another claimant (so called ‘multiples’); in such circumstances, a claimant may rely upon the fact that another claimant has complied with the requirement for early conciliation and has a certificate from the Agency.

    The exemption in regulation 3(1)(b) means that if a claim for relevant proceedings appears on the same claim form as proceedings which are not relevant proceedings, there is no need for a claimant to satisfy the early conciliation requirement in relation to those relevant proceedings.

  • The Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020

    These Regulations and Rules of Procedure establish requirements in relation to proceedings before industrial tribunals (ITs) and the Fair Employment Tribunal (FET). They revoke and replace earlier regulations and rules which separately dealt with these tribunals. The 2020 Regulations provide a revised and consolidated text for the rules and procedures of the industrial tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal while simplifying language and structure, being consistent with better regulation principles. The 2020 Regulations also take account of the introduction of Early Conciliation; in particular setting out the implications arising from the adherence, or non-adherence, to the requirements of Early Conciliation.

  • The Industrial Tribunals (1996 Order) (Application of Conciliation Provisions) Order (Northern Ireland) 2020

    This Order amends Article 20(1) of the Industrial Tribunals (Northern Ireland) Order 1996. Article 20(1) lists the proceedings which are “relevant proceedings” for the purposes of Early Conciliation and other conciliation services provided by the Labour Relations Agency. The amendments made by this Order update the list of jurisdictions in Article 20(1).

  • The Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019

    This instrument amends the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) Order (Northern Ireland) 1979 (“the 1979 Order”) to give effect to changes to a criminal record ‘filtering scheme’ that allows some old and minor spent convictions to be ‘filtered, so that they are no longer disclosed and cannot be taken into account in employment decisions in certain circumstances. The 1978 Order makes it possible for certain convictions to become “spent”, which means that after a specified period a person can be treated for certain purposes as if the conviction had never happened and they need not, for example, tell an employer about the conviction when applying for a job.

    To ensure that the public is adequately protected, however, certain exceptions to the 1978 Order are set out in the 1979 Order so that, for specified professions and occupations that typically involve a high degree of trust and often involve vulnerable persons, applicants must declare all past convictions when asked. The 1979 Order is amended periodically to ensure that the access to the criminal record disclosure regime keeps pace with changes in public risk; to ensure that disclosure regimes remain consistent across jurisdictions where appropriate; and to maintain the public trust and protection process.

    This Order, the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019 (“the 2019 Order”), stems from a Supreme Court judgment, which ruled that elements of the criminal record ‘filtering scheme’ operated by the Department of Justice were disproportionate.The ‘filtering scheme’ was established in 2014 following a review of the criminal records regime in Northern Ireland that was carried out by Sunita Mason during 2011, which recommended that the Department of Justice should filter old and minor convictions from standard and enhanced criminal record certificates; and to take account of the findings of two court cases concerning the disclosure of criminal record material at that time.

    The terms of the scheme are that a conviction can be filtered after a period of 11 years (or 5.5 years for those under 18 at the time of the conviction), so long as the conviction was not for a specified offence as listed in the 1979 Order (e.g. serious violent and sexual offences; or offences of specific relevance for posts concerned with safeguarding children and vulnerable adults; etc.); did not attract a custodial sentence; and if there is no other conviction on the individual’s record.

    The Supreme Court found that limiting the filtering scheme to a single offence, with the result that more than one old and minor conviction would be disclosed automatically, was disproportionate. The Department has, therefore, adjusted the terms of the scheme to allow more than one offence to be filtered in order to comply with the judgment.

    The 2019 Order gives effect to this change by amending the 1979 Order to remove Article 1A(2)(c), which restricted the terms of the filtering scheme to a single conviction. The Department is satisfied that public protection is maintained, however, as the remaining elements of the filtering scheme will continue to ensure that there is no increased risk to the public as a result of this change.

  • No 63 The Employment Rights (Increase in Limits) Order Northern Ireland

    This Order increases, from 6th April 2019, the limits applying to certain awards of industrial tribunals, the Fair Employment Tribunal or Labour Relations Agency statutory arbitration, and other amounts payable under employment legislation, as specified in the Schedule to the Order.

  • No 603 The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2019

    These Regulations are the annual amendments to the National Minimum Wage legislation which has existed since 1999 and they come into effect on 1/4/19.

  • No 58 The Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order (Northern Ireland) 2019

    This Order changes key statutory rates over a period from 1/4/19 until 8/4/19.

  • No 318 Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012

    The Order comes into operation on 10 September 2012 with Article 2 of the 1979 Order providing exceptions to article 5(2) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 (“the 1978 Order”) (questions which relate to spent convictions).