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The Social Security(Northern Ireland) Order 1989


This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Disqualification for unemployment benefit

14.—(1) In subsection (1) of section 20 of the principal Act (disqualifications, etc.)—

(a)at the beginning, there shall be inserted the words “Subject to section 20A below”;

(b)in paragraphs (b), (c) and (d), for the words “suitable employment” there shall be substituted the word “employ-ment”;

(c)in paragraphs (c) and (g), immediately before the word “neglected” there shall be inserted the words “without good cause”.

(2) In subsection (1A) of that section the words “longer or” shall cease to have effect.

(3) For subsection (4) of that section (meaning of “suitable employment”) there shall be substituted the following subsection—

(4) For the purposes of subsection (1) above, regulations may—

(a)prescribe matters which are or are not to be taken into account in determining whether a person does or does not have good cause for any act or omission; or

(b)prescribe circumstances in which a person is or is not to be regarded as having or not having good cause for any act or omission;

but, subject to any such regulations, in determining for the purposes of that subsection whether a person does or does not have good cause for any act or omission, there shall be disregarded any matter relating to the level of remuneration in the employment in question..

(4) After that section there shall be inserted the following section—

Exemptions from disqualification for unemployment benefit.

20A.(1) Nothing in section 20 above or in regulations under that section shall be taken to disqualify a person for receiving unemployment benefit by reason only of his refusal—

(a)to seek or accept employment in a situation which is vacant in consequence of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute; or

(b)to seek or accept during the permitted period any employment other than employment in his usual occupation at a level of remuneration not lower than he is accustomed to receive.

(2) Regulations shall make provision for the purpose of enabling any person of a prescribed description to accept any employed earner’s employment without being disqualified under—

(a)subsection (1)(a) of section 20 above, so far as it relates to a person who voluntarily leaves such employment without just cause, or

(b)subsection (1)(c) of that section,

should he leave that employment voluntarily and without just cause at any time after the end of the 6th week, but not later than the end of the 12th week, of a trial period.

(3) In this section—

“permitted period” in relation to any person, means such period, whether expired or not, as may be determined in accordance with regulations by an adjudication officer on the submission of the question whether that person is disqualified under section 20 above for receiving unemployment benefit; and any such regulations may prescribe—


the day on which any such period shall be regarded as having commenced in any case;


the shortest and longest periods which may be so determined in any case; and


criteria to which the adjudication officer is to have regard in determining the permitted period in any case; and

“trial period” means a period of 12 weeks beginning with the commencement of the employment in question; but regulations may—


make provision for the purpose of determining the day on which a person’s employment is to be regarded as commencing; and


provide that, for the purpose of determining the time at which the 6th or 12th week of a trial period ends, prescribed periods may be disregarded in prescribed circumstances..

(5) In Schedule 17 to that Act (glossary of expressions) in the second column of the entry relating to “employment”, the following paragraph shall be added at the end—

  • Regulations may make provision modifying the meaning of “employment” for the purposes of any provision of this Act..

(6) Nothing in paragraph (2) shall affect the continuing operation of the Unemployment Benefit (Disqualification Period) Order (Northern Ireland) 1988(1) (which substituted the period of 26 weeks for the period of 13 weeks in section 20(1) of the principal Act).

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