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Employment law payments and awards – Northern Ireland

By Ian Holloway, head of legislation and compliance at Cintra HR & Payroll Services

On 22 February 2017, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) laid the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2017 which gives the green light to increases in certain employment law payments and awards in Great Britain under two Acts:

1. The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and
2. The Employment Rights Act 1996

This Order is worth viewing as, among other things, from 6 April 2017, there is an increase to the value of a week’s pay from £479 to £489 (where the date of the redundancy is on or after 6 April 2017).

Neither of the above acts apply in Northern Ireland – therefore, the order does not apply there either. As UK professionals, therefore, we need to wait for the UK picture to be completed by a corresponding 2017 order there. This has been delayed considerably because of the breakdown of the power-sharing executive and the elections on 2 March 2017. An announcement I saw on the Labour Relations Agency Website troubled me. This said:

In GB from 6 April 2017 compensation and limits figures for things such as a week’s pay for the purposes of statutory redundancy pay and unfair dismissal calculation will change in GB only.

When changes apply to Northern Ireland you will be notified on this website

My initial reading of the corresponding acts in Northern Ireland was that the Department for the Economy (DfE) was legally required to make an order to be effective 6 April. However, upon advice from the DfE, I have been informed that these provisions were never actually commenced. This means that they will come into effect in Northern Ireland “as soon as is practicable”. This will not be until Northern Ireland manages to restore a devolved administration and assembly.

That is quite a relief – for a moment I thought that employers would be faced with the administration burden of implementing changes mid-way through the tax year but backdated to the start.

Posted on 30th March 2017 by Jerome Smail

 

 

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