Belfast Telegraph

Research report into SMEs’ employment rights and relations responsibilities published

Stormont press release - Department for Employment and Learning

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry today welcomed the publication of a report which investigates attitudes towards employment rights and relations responsibilities amongst Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Northern Ireland.

The DEL commissioned report examined attitudes among SMEs to their employment law obligations. It found that there is a need to improve guidance and support to help embed good practice and maintain effective working relationships and reduce the incidence of damaging disputes. Performance and conduct issues were highlighted as leading causes of disputes.

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, said: “The findings from this research report have been fed into the Employment Law Review consultation which I am announcing today. They will inform the development of mechanisms to enhance SMEs’ understanding of and compliance with employment rights and relations good practice, thereby reducing scope for avoidable and costly workplace conflict.

“I am very interested to hear views on how we can do more to help the small and medium employers who make such a vital contribution to our economy. I strongly encourage the business sector to read the report and contribute to the wider consultation.”

The report recommends support and awareness raising to help SMEs embed good practice as well as the trialling of mediation as a way of resolving disputes at an early stage. The report suggests modest subsidies in support of these initiatives.

The research report into Employment Rights for SMEs survey is available online at http://www.delni.gov.uk/erresearch.

The consultation will last for 16 weeks, beginning on Tuesday 16 July 2013 and closing at 5pm on Tuesday 5 November 2013. The consultation document can be found at:http://www.delni.gov.uk/consultation-zone.

Notes to editors:

1. SMEs, for the purposes of this research work, can be defined as organisations with fewer than 50 employees.

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