On 03 March 2020, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) laid the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2020 that applies in Great Britain.

The headline notes of this legislation, effective 06 April 2020, were:

  • The daily amount of guarantee payment increases from £29 to £30
  • The value of ‘a week’s pay’ increases from £525 to £538 per week
  • The maximum compensatory award in unfair dismissal claims increases to £88,519 or one year’s net salary, whichever is the lower (in place since 2013)

It is vital that we know the UK-wide picture and have been waiting patiently for Northern Ireland to come up with similar legislation.

The Legislation in Northern Ireland

On 25 March 2020, the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order (Northern Ireland) 2020 was published by the Department for the Economy.

As we are just over a week or so away from the start of the tax year in which they are to be effective, I wanted to get this information out to professionals as soon as possible.

Reason for the Legislation

Under provisions in Article 33 of the Employment Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1999, if the Retail Prices Index (RPI) for September of a year is higher (or lower) than the index for the previous September, the Department for the Economy is required to pass legislation in the form of an Order.  The RPI increase in this period was 2.4%.  The effect of this is to change the limits that apply to certain awards made by Industrial Tribunals, the Fair Employment Tribunal or as a result of arbitration by the Labour Relations Agency.  These are awarded under either:

  • The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (1995 Order), or
  • The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (1996 Order)
The New Values

The headline notes of this legislation, effective 06 April 2020, are:

  • The daily amount of guarantee payment increases from £29 to £30
  • The value of ‘a week’s pay’ increases from £547 to £560 per week
  • The maximum compensatory award in unfair dismissal claims increases from £86,614 to £88,693 – note that there is no one provision in Northern Ireland for this to be the value of one year’s net salary if this is lower

The following are the revised increases that apply where the event giving rise to the compensation entitlement occurs on or after 06 April 2020 (courtesy of The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) (Northern Ireland) Order 2020 above.  These are shown below in red compared to the values that applied from 06 April 2019.

Subject of Provision       06 April 2019 06 April 2020
Minimum compensation awarded by the Industrial Tribunal for exclusion or expulsion from a trade union (1995 Order) £9,982 £10,222
Maximum amount of ‘a week’s pay’ for basic or additional awards of compensation for unfair dismissal or redundancy payment (1996 Order) £547 £560
Limit on daily amount of guarantee payment (1996 Order) £29 £30
Award for unlawful inducement relating to union membership or activities, or to collective bargaining (1996 Order) £4,401 £4,507
Minimum basic award for unfair dismissal or selection for redundancy on grounds related to health and safety, union membership or activities, or a trustee of an occupational pension scheme (1996 Order) £6,655 £6,815
Limit on amount of compensatory award for unfair dismissal (1996 Order) £86,614 £88,693
Limit on weekly amount payable from the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund to the employee in respect of insolvency of the employer (1996 Order) £547 £560

 

Join our newsletter