With the increasing number of regions across the world affected by coronavirus, there are concerns about its arrival in Northern Ireland. Businesses and workers may be wondering what their rights and responsibilities are when it comes to protecting staff and themselves from the spread of the virus.
Fair treatment is not just a moral and legal obligation but makes good business sense. Employers who treat employees fairly will be best placed to recruit and retain staff in an increasingly diverse and competitive labour market.
In addition to contracts of employment, a number of other types of contracts exist.
The Public Interest Disclosure (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 protects those who report serious wrongdoing in the workplace from dismissal or detrimental treatment as a result of their whistleblowing.
Employers have a duty to protect their employees and visitors from harm. They must do risk assessments and they must report any serious incidents to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland. Employees are expected to take reasonable care of their own health and safety.
A contract of employment may be ended with the agreement of both parties, or by the employer or employee giving the required amount of notice.
These Regulations prescribe certain public bodies under and for the purposes of Article 71 (5) of the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 relating to employment rules relevant to service of the Crown or certain public bodies.
This is one method that employers use to work with trade unions or works councils to negotiate matters such as terms and conditions of employment for certain groups or all their employees.
Employers can do various checks to make sure future employees can do the job they are being hired to do, that they are entitled to work in Northern Ireland, and that they are not barred from working with vulnerable groups.