Belfast Telegraph

Employment law reform could be a sales tool for us, says CBI

By Margaret Canning

A leaner regime of employment law could be a global sales tool for Northern Ireland in attracting foreign investors, it's been claimed.

Ian Coulter, the chairman of the CBI in Northern Ireland, spoke as the organisation joined with lawyers Pinsent Masons to launch a guide to employment law in Northern Ireland, the Republic and Great Britain.

The guide contrasts the jurisdictions' laws on unfair dismissal, redundancy and other employment law predicaments.

The CBI argues that Northern Ireland's employment law regime, which is separate from the rest of the UK, could discourage international companies from investing in the province. Since last year, the qualifying period for unfair dismissal in the rest of the UK has been increased to two years, contrasting with the one-year qualification period which remains in Northern Ireland.

Mr Coulter said states like California in the United States, home of the world's top technology firms, had labour laws allowing more flexibility.

"Imagine if such companies can say, their employment law is the same as ours," he said.

The Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) has started a consultation on employment law and issues such as unfair dismissal qualification periods and the concept of 'protected conversations' between employers and employees considering retirement.

DEL Minister Stephen Farry helped launch the CBI's guide. He said: "This guide provides a useful tool for business to further understand the differences in employment laws in each jurisdiction.

"This report is timely as we seek to further consult with stakeholders on the future of employment law reform in Northern Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph