Northern Ireland businesses have been warned not to ignore new employment laws.
PriceWaterhouseCooper (PWC) said that major changes are looming but too many companies are neither aware of or complying with the new legislation, which could leave them facing some stiff penalties.
Changes include additional paternity leave, the abolition of the default retirement age of 65 and alterations in agency workers' basic employment conditions.
Rebecca McCourt from PwC's Legal Services team said that employment law rarely stands still and it can be difficult for employers to keep track of its constant evolution.
"However, employers who fall foul of new regulations face severe consequences in terms of penalties and damage to business reputation," she said.
"This year sees a number of changes to local employment law and our research indicates that many businesses are not even aware of their new responsibilities.
"There have been a number of moves to bring Northern Ireland employment into line with European legislation, but this has not been well publicised.
"Many employers are not aware of the impending changes and particularly of the ending of the default retirement age.
"However, ignorance of the law is no excuse and employers may face tribunal claims or worse if they fail to take professional advice on how to comply with all the relevant legislation."