Northern Ireland: Decision to implement the Agency Workers DirectiveTuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Implementation in Northern Ireland will be almost identical to the rest of the United Kingdom.
EU member states are required to implement the Agency Workers Directive by 5 December 2011. In Great Britain (GB), the measures required by the Directive have been made by means of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 and come into force on 1 October 2011.
Employment law in Northern Ireland requires separate legislation and, although the legislation largely mirrors the rules in the rest of the UK, there is scope for the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), the Northern Ireland equivalent of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), to conduct its own consultation exercises and, as appropriate, introduce measures that are peculiar to Northern Ireland’s employees and workers.
The DEL published its own consultation document in December 2010, after the GB regulations were nearly finalised. As a result, the proposals for Northern Ireland were effectively the same as those already fixed for the rest of the UK.
The DEL published its response to the consultation on 16 August. Unsurprisingly, the general response was the same as to the earlier BIS consultation – employers and their representatives thought that the proposals went too far, and workers’ representatives thought they did not go far enough. The DEL’s conclusions, also unsurprisingly, were that the Directive itself restricts the implementation in Northern Ireland broadly to the proposals as set out in the consultation document – in effect the same as those set out in the GB regulations.
The final regulations will be put before the Northern Ireland Assembly in September, and will come into effect on 5 December 2011, the deadline date.