Index of employment-related statute (Acts and Orders) 2008-2015

    Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2010 Ch. 12

    This Northern Ireland Assembly Act  came into operation on 2/8/10 and addresses several miscellaneous and technical issues associated with employment law including things such as: technical changes to the law on employment agencies regarding enforcement and criminal penalties, provisions regarding the membership of the Industrial Court, legal representation in the Industrial Court, information sharing (employment agencies and the National Minimum Wage),  associated compensation for financial loss (deductions from wages).

    Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2010

    The Bribery Act 2010 Ch.23

    This Act applies to all of the UK and although the Act was made in 2010 it does not come into operation until 1st July 2011. The Act is not directly related to employment law however, Section 7 creates a new offence for organisations that fail to prevent persons associated with them from engaging in bribery on their behalf. Thus the issue of vicarious liability arises for organisations in terms of whether or not they can establish if they had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.

    Bribery Act 2010

    The Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 C.13

    This Act brings into operation changes to the dispute resolution provisions by way of, amongst other things, the repeal of the statutory grievance procedures, the ramifications of unreasonable failure to follow the new Labour Relations Agency Code of Practice on Grievance, Discipline and Dismissal, determination of Industrial Tribunal proceedings without a hearing, the Pre-Claim Conciliation service of the Labour Relations Agency, the removal of the fixed periods (7 or 13 weeks) of conciliation, and the recovery of sums payable under compromises involving the Agency.

    Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

    The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 Ch.9

    Although not specifically a piece of employment legislation, the Protection of Freedoms Act cuts across many employment law related areas such as – regulation of CCTV, amendments to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers legislation, impacts on the safeguarding vulnerable groups legislation, changes regarding the Criminal Records checks and administration, reform of the Vetting and Barring Scheme, and the Disclosure and Barring Service.

    In Northern Ireland the titles and processes associated with the above may be different and this can make cross-referencing difficult especially given that implementation dates will be staggered from late 2012 into 2013.

    In addition the Act makes four key amendments to the Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation via firstly amending the FOIA to make provision for the re-use of datasets by public authorities subject to that Act. Second, they amend the definition of a publicly owned company for the purposes of the FOIA so that it includes companies owned by two or more public authorities. Third, they extend to Northern Ireland amendments made to the FOIA by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Finally, they amend the FOIA and DPA to revise the arrangements in respect of the appointment and tenure of the office of the Information Commissioner and to make changes to the role of the Secretary of State in relation to the exercise of certain functions by the Information Commissioner.

    Other changes made include amendments to the Protection from Harassment legislation, which has increasing application to the workplace, via two new offences of stalking (a summary only offence) and stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress (an either way offence). It also introduces a power of entry in relation to the summary only offence of stalking that would confer on the police a power, subject to the authorisation of a magistrate, to enter and search premises if there are reasonable grounds for believing that there is material on the premises which is likely to be of substantial value to the investigation of the offence.

    The majority of the Act’s provisions extend to England and Wales only, but certain provisions also extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland or both. In relation to Scotland, the Act addresses non-devolved matters only; in relation to Wales and Northern Ireland the Act addresses both devolved and non-devolved matters.

    The provisions of the Act relating to the following excepted or reserved matters also extend to Northern Ireland: (NB – only partially applicable to employment)

    • The retention of fingerprints and DNA profiles subject to the 2000 Act or the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (“the 2008 Act”), or retained for national security purposes and for the purposes connected with the International Criminal Court (sections 19 to 22 and Parts 1 to 4, 6 and 7 of Schedule 1);
    • The requirement for local authorities to obtain judicial approval for the application and use of covert surveillance powers under RIPA (Chapter 2 of Part 2);
    • The provisions relating to powers of entry insofar as they relate to excepted or reserved matters (Chapter 1 of Part 3);
    • The provisions in respect of the maximum periods of pre-charge detention for terrorist suspects (sections 57 and 58);
    • Changes to the terrorism stop and search powers, including amendments to the stop and search powers in Schedule 3 to the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 (Part 4);
    • The amendments to the DPA (section 86 and Part 6); and
    • The power of the Treasury to make provision in respect of taxation in connection with the transfer of property, rights or liabilities of the ISA and the CRB to the Disclosure and Barring Service (section 91).

    In addition, the following provisions of the Act relating to transferred matters will also extend to Northern Ireland:

    • The amendments to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007 (“SVGO”) (section 78 and Schedule 7) and the Disclosure and Barring Service (Chapter 3 of Part 5 and Schedule 8); and
    • The amendments to the FOIA (sections 102, 103, 104, 105(5) and 107(3) and (4)).

    As these provisions relate to transferred matters they require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Northern Ireland Assembly agreed a legislative consent motion in respect of the amendments to the SVGO on 21 March 2011. A further legislative consent motion was agreed by the Assembly on 27 June 2011 in relation to the Disclosure and Barring Service provisions in Chapter 3 of Part 5 and Schedule 8. On 26 September 2011, the Assembly also agreed a legislative consent motion in relation to the amendments to the FOIA.

    Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

    The Work and Families (Northern Ireland) Act 2015 Ch. 1

    This Act received Royal Assent on 8 January 2015 and comes into full legal effect in early April 2015.

    The purpose of the Act is to provide a legislative framework enabling Northern Ireland leave and pay entitlements to continue to match those available to working parents in Great Britain.

    The Act also facilitates extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees with an appropriate length of service.

    The Act sets out a legislative framework allowing for the voluntary sharing of leave and pay entitlement between parents following the birth or adoption of a child (shared parental leave and pay). It goes on to make consequential adjustments to other rights for working parents to ensure that they appropriately interface with the new provisions. It also abolishes the right to additional paternity leave and pay, which the new system replaces and builds upon.

    Provision is made allowing foster parents who are a child’s intended adoptive parents to access adoption pay and leave, and intended parents in surrogacy arrangements to avail of paternity and adoption leave and pay.

    The Act provides for statutory adoption pay to be paid at 90% of earnings for the first six weeks. It also facilitates paid time off work for primary adopters to attend up to five introductory meetings before a child is placed with them for adoption; and unpaid time off for secondary adopters to attend two such meetings. A similar right to take unpaid time off work is provided for the partners of new mothers to attend ante-natal appointments.

    The Act facilitates extension of the current right to request flexible working to all employees having an appropriate length of service with their employer.

    Finally, the Act introduces a minor technical amendment in support of a programme, developed as part of the Department’s Employment Law Review, to consolidate Working Time Regulations.

    Work and Families Act (Northern Ireland) 2015