Index of employment-related statute (Acts and Orders) 2016-Present
- The Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 Ch 15
- The Data Protection Act (2018)
- The Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019
- The Industrial Tribunals (1996 Order) (Application of Conciliation Provisions) Order (Northern Ireland) 2020
- The Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020
- The Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020
- The Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (Commencement No. 3) Order (Northern Ireland) 2020
The Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 Ch 15
This legislation is the main enabling vehicle for the implementation of a variety of employment law reforms (to be introduced via Regulations during 2017) including – the introduction of the system of early conciliation via the Labour Relations Agency, amendments to the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistle-blowing) legislation to bring Northern Ireland into line with reforms that began in 2013 and continued into 2016, reforms regarding the industrial and fair employment tribunal, the use of the term employment judge, the possibility for future provisions regarding the use of zero hours contracts, provisions to be made regarding gender pay gap reporting for Summer 2017 and other matters regarding responsibility for career guidance, apprenticeships and other miscellaneous technical reforms.
The Data Protection Act (2018)
This Act, effective from 25/5/18 essentially is the vehicle for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which updates the existing 1998 legislation with more specific responsibilities and obligations in areas such as - consent, the right to be forgotten, data breaches, fines, obligations of processers and controllers and so on.
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.
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 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 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 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.