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For example, although the Coalition Government increased the qualifying service to bring an unfair dismissal claim to two years where the employment began on or after 6 April 2012, the qualifying service in Northern Ireland remains at one year.
Dr Stephen Farry, Northern Ireland Minister for Employment and Learning, has now published a ‘discussion paper’ on reviewing Northern Ireland’s employment laws and has made it clear in the paper’s foreword that the needs of the region will come first, stating:
“I appreciate that there may be an expectation that my Department will simply mirror the UK Government‘s review, initiating public consultations on individual policy areas to the same timescales as in the rest of the UK. However, I believe this approach would not be consistent with the [Northern Ireland] Programme for Government, which is about developing regional solutions that are more sensitive to the particular needs of individual citizens and local businesses.
“What we need to achieve collectively is an understanding of what are the policy and practice issues that need to be taken forward here in Northern Ireland as a matter of priority.”
It seems likely, therefore, that the differences between Northern Ireland’s employment laws and those in the rest of the UK are set to increase.
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