Worthingtons Solicitors review a statement made by the Minister for Employment and Learning regarding recent review of Employment law in Northern Ireland.
On Monday the 5th November the Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry MLA, made a statement to the Assembly regarding the Department's recent review of Employment Law in Northern Ireland within which he outlined many of the Departments projects going forward.
High on the minister's priority list was the need to increase the use of early resolution as a viable alternative to employment tribunals. In this regard the Minister has confirmed that he will be asking the Labour Relations Agency to undertake early resolution projects to include the development of a detailed delivery model for routing all claims through the Agency in the first instance; enhanced promotion of the Agency’s pre-claim conciliation and arbitration services and a study to determine the feasibility of introducing Early Neutral Evaluation as part of the Agency’s package of early resolution services.
The Minister also noted concerns regarding the current regulatory burden of existing employment legislation and its impact on Northern Ireland’s ability to compete for foreign investment. In particular the Minister highlighted the fact that the UK Government has increased the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from one to two years from 6 April 2012, across Great Britain. It is believed that this measure will increase business confidence, encourage companies to recruit more staff, and potentially reduce the number of tribunal claims within Great Britain. The Minister has confirmed that the Department will be conducting a focused public consultation on the matter before deciding whether it is appropriate for Northern Ireland to follow suit and we await the outcome with interest.