At the beginning of the month, we wrote about how an announcement from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 30 July 2020 gave rise to employers having to think that any redundancy pay needs to be based upon the employee’s ‘normal wages’ (rather than any wages that may have been payable under the contract of employment if this was a reduced as a result of furlough). This gave rise to The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Coronavirus, Calculation of a Week’s Pay) Regulations 2020.

You can read the full article here.

The BEIS only applies in Great Britain. The equivalent department in Northern Ireland is the Department for the Economy (DfE). The Employment Rights Act 1996 also only applies in Great Britain. The equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland is The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (ERO).

So, although we have one United Kingdom, there are two employment law jurisdictions – Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Just because it happens in one jurisdiction does not mean it happens in the other. That was the case with the above announcement legislation.  It only applies when the employee’s contract is written under the Act, not the Order

Given that COVID-19 and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme itself applies UK-wide, we hoped that it would only be a matter of time before Northern Ireland followed suit.  This they have done with the announcement from Economy Minister Diane Dodds on 13 August 2020.  This announcement gave rise to The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (Coronavirus, Calculation of a Week’s Pay) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.

This piece of Secondary legislation is due to be debated at the Committee stage on 09 September 2020. However, the Regulations themselves came into force on 14 August 2020.  The Great British legislation came onto force on 31 July 2020.

The legislation in both jurisdictions is about the calculation of the value of a week’s pay in a number of situations.  Remember:

  • The value of a week’s pay is capped at £538 per week in Great Britain under a contract written under ERA 1966
  • The value of a week’s pay is capped at £560 per week in Northern Ireland under a contract written under ERO 1966

The Northern Ireland legislation does mirror that of the Great British Regulations in respect of the statutory remuneration calculations for the following:

  • Statutory Remuneration (Time off to Look for Employment or Arrange Training)
  • Statutory Notice Payments (as opposed to contractual notice payments)
  • Any Statutory Sum for Failing to Provide a Written Statement of Reasons
  • Any Statutory Sum for Failing to Comply with a Reinstatement or Re-engagement Order
  • Statutory Compensation for Unfair Dismissal
  • Statutory Redundancy Payment (the one capped at 20 years)

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