Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland university staff in early Brexit payday

Quite happy: Dr Merav Amir
Quite happy: Dr Merav Amir
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Queen's University, Belfast has told its 3,700 staff that they will be paid early this month because of Brexit.

The large workforce at the academic institution was informed on Thursday that wages will be transferred on March 27 following a decision by its Brexit operational working group.

The email pre-dated Thursday night's decision in Brussels to grant the UK an extension to Article 50 beyond March 29.

"As a result of the ongoing uncertainty relating to Brexit, the university has put in place a number of contingency plans to reassure our staff and reduce risks to business continuity," a spokesperson said.

"This includes the practical step of paying salaries earlier than usual for March 2019 to avoid any potential disruption and inconvenience in the unlikely event of banking or payments processing issues on the original withdrawal date of March 29.

"The university is also providing regular information events for international staff and dedicated web resources to keep staff and students informed as the situation evolves."

It's understood that the decision was not based on advice from Northern Ireland's four main banks. A source at one of the main banks said yesterday that it was not anticipating any issues around transactions on March 29, nor had it advised business customers to alter their pay schedules.

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Ulster University said yesterday that it was not changing its pay day, which falls on the last Thursday of every month.

The Department of Finance also confirmed that wages for civil servants will be paid as normal.

"DoF is not bringing forward the payment dates of NICS salaries due to Brexit or for any other reason. All salaries will be paid as normal," said a spokesperson.

The president of the University and Colleges Union at Queen's welcomed the development.

Dr Merav Amir said while the decision was not something the union was aware of, staff were "very happy" the university was taking the precautionary measure.

"Anything that will reduce the uncertainty that people have to face around this time, is a positive development from our perspective," she said.

"We're quite happy that they decided to do it."

Belfast Telegraph