Employment

Flexible Working in Northern Ireland – Advice for Employers
17/09/2014
Employers may be aware of recent media coverage regarding new flexible working laws that were introduced on 30th June with the Children and Families Act 2014. The new laws apply to England and Wales only and there is now a notable difference between the position there and in Northern Ireland. In England and Wales any employee can now make an application for flexible working for any reason provided they have 26 weeks’ continuous service and have not made a flexible working request in the past 12 months. However, in Northern Ireland, the position remains that flexible working requests can...
The O'Reilly Stewart Guide to the Christmas Party
12/12/2013
The Christmas party season is upon us and without being the Christmas Grinch, employers should be aware of the dangers of mixing alcohol with staff. As employers you want your staff to relax and enjoy themselves but at the same time avoid any claim for inappropriate actions at the party. The law is clear that the work Christmas party is an extension of the work place and the normal working environment, whether it is in the office or at another venue or inside or outside working hours. Legally the employer can be held responsible for its own actions or those of its employees and employers can...
Zero Hours Contracts: Use Correctly!
15/11/2013
The issue of zero hours contracts made headline news during the summer when it was revealed that some one million people in the UK are employed in this way, around 34,000 of them in Northern Ireland. Almost half of all employees in the hotel, leisure and catering industries are employed on zero hours contracts as well as sizable portions in areas such as retail, universities and local councils. Critics argue that zero hours contracts offer little stability or security to the employee, leaving them open to exploitation. For businesses that use them they offer flexibility to respond to...
Uniform in the Workplace
11/11/2013
Many employers will be aware of the difficulties faced in enforcing a uniform policy in the workplace particularly where employees may have worked for many years without one. The problem can lead to friction between employees and their employer. Before deciding to implement a uniform policy, employers should consider points such as; The business’ public/corporate image – what image are you trying to promote? What type of work the employees are performing – is a uniform necessary? Health and safety standards – are these improved by a uniform/restriction on certain...
Social Media in the Workplace – Have you got a Policy?
18/10/2013
The use of social media is now common place in the professional and corporate world. Whether it is staff using work computers or hand held devices to access their personal web pages and blogs, or businesses using social media for marketing purposes, it is highly likely that the issue of social media will be brought up in a boardroom meeting or office discussion. The correct use of social media can undoubtedly be an effective marketing tool in an increasingly digitalised society. However, along with the many advantages are disadvantages; further platforms to air opinions, ease of access and...
Employers: Monitoring Internet Usage
09/11/2012
Employment issues surrounding social media and employees are on the rise in Northern Ireland.  Employers often seek advice where they suspect an employee is using a work computer for social networking and personal emails, and the employer wishes to monitor and address this problem.  The first issue to consider is your monitoring of the employee’s Internet usage in the workplace.  Despite the fact it is a Company computer, the employee does have some rights to know what you are monitoring and why.  The Data Protection Act and European Convention on Human Rights afford...