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Posts from the ‘Tribunals’ Category

New Tribunal Compensation Limits

07/02/2013

Mark Jackson

logoThe Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 has set new compensation limits for redundancies and unfair dismissals in Northern Ireland. The new limits came into force on 1 February 2013.

The limit on a week’s pay, used to calculate redundancy payments or for unfair dismissal compensation, has gone up to £450 from £430. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal claims has risen from £72,300 to £74,200.

Minimum basic awards have also been raised. They have risen to £5,500 from £5,300 for unfair dismissal or selection for redundancy on grounds related to union membership or activities, as well as dismissals for health and safety cases, and those concerning employee representatives and trustees of occupational pension schemes.

If the dismissal occurs before 1 February 2013, the old limit still applies even if compensation is awarded after that date.

Unlimited compensation continues to apply to discrimination claims, the compensatory award for whistleblowing and protected health and safety dismissals.

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Employee fairly dismissed for vulgar Facebook comments…

26/04/2012

Mark Jackson

In a decision given in March 2012, an Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland has held that an employee was fairly dismissed for making vulgar comments about a female colleague on his Facebook page.

In the case of Teggart -v- Tele Tech UK Limited, the Tribunal held that an employee was fairly dismissed because comments which he posted on his Facebook page amounted to harassment of a female colleague and breached the employer’s Dignity at Work Policy.

The claimant was employed at a call centre in Belfast. He posted obscene comments about a female colleague on his Facebook page from home. The comment mentioned his employer’s name and was read by some other work colleagues. It was alleged that the comment had been brought to the employer’s attention by a member of the public. The female colleague heard about the comments and asked the claimant’s girlfriend if he would remove them. However that led the claimant to simply post further comments. Read more

Redundancies & compromise agreements…

16/01/2012

Mark Jackson

As a result of the current economic climate, the last few years have seen a sharp rise in redundancies.  Only last week Ulster Bank Limited announced that they will be making a further 350 redundancies in Northern Ireland – see here for the story.

The rise in redundancies has in turn seen an increase in the number of people who need advice on a compromise agreement.  Employers are increasingly using compromise agreements, especially in a redundancy situation, to avoid any potential future litigation as a result of bringing the employment to an end by offering some sort of financial settlement in return for the employee agreeing not to sue.  It can be daunting when handed a legal document by an employer that looks complicated and full of legal jargon.  Plus, if you’re being asked to enter into a compromise agreement, you’ll need to get advice from an independent solicitor to explain what the document means if it is to become legally binding.  So what is a compromise agreement? Read more

The annual increase in Tribunal compensation limits and new rates of benefits…

12/01/2012

Mark Jackson

Industrial Tribunal compensation limits 

The annual increase in Tribunal compensation limits will take effect for dismissals occurring on or after 1 February 2012.  The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £68,400 to £72,300, and the maximum amount of a week’s pay (for calculating the unfair dismissal basic award and statutory redundancy pay) will increase from £400 to £430 per week.

Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay and statutory sick pay

On 9 April 2012, the lower rate of statutory maternity pay, and the rates of statutory adoption, paternity and additional paternity pay, will increase from £128.73 per week to £135.45 per week.  Statutory sick pay will increase from £81.60 to £85.85 per week.

New rights to be given to agency workers in Northern Ireland…

23/08/2011

Mark Jackson

The Department for Employment and Learning has confirmed that temporary agency workers in Northern Ireland will be given important new rights under the EU Agency Workers Directive – see link.

The Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, has indicated the Department will bring the necessary legislation into effect by 5 December 2011.

It is likely the legislation will largely mirror the English equivalent, the Agency Worker Regulations 2010, which come into operation in England and Wales on 1 October 2011.  Those Regulations give temps and agency workers some of the same rights as full-time staff from their first day on the job.  After 12 weeks in the same job, as indicated by the Minister, the new regulations will grant temps the same pay and overtime rates as your permanent employees, as well as paid holiday.

It is estimated that one half of temp assignments are longer than 12 weeks, and the Department’s own website indicates there are some 22,000 temporary agency workers in Northern Ireland.  That means a considerable number of businesses in Northern Ireland will be affected.

So, if you employ temps for more than 12 weeks at a time, are there any steps you can take to prepare before 5 December 2011? Read more