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5.—(1) The Equal Pay Act (Northern Ireland) 1970(1) is amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3).
(2) In subsections (3) to (6) of section 2ZA, for “the qualifying date is” substitute “the qualifying date is, subject to section 2ZAA,”.
(3) After section 2ZA insert—
2ZAA.—(1) Subsection (2) applies where—
(a)there is mediation in relation to a relevant cross border dispute giving rise to proceedings under this Act; and
(b)the six months period referred to in section 2ZA(3) to (6) (“the limitation period”) would, apart from this section, expire—
(i)in the period of 8 weeks after the date on which the mediation ends;
(ii)on the date on which the mediation ends; or
(iii)after the date on which all of the parties to the dispute agree to participate in the mediation but before the date on which the mediation ends.
(2) Where this subsection applies, the limitation period is extended so that it expires on the date falling 8 weeks after the date on which the mediation ends.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (1) and (2), a mediation in relation to a relevant cross-border dispute ends on the date of the first of these to occur—
(a)all of the parties reach an agreement in resolution of the dispute;
(b)all of the parties agree to end the mediation;
(c)a party notifies all of the other parties of that party’s withdrawal,
(d)a period of 14 days expires after a request made by one party to another party for confirmation of whether the other party has withdrawn and the other party does not respond in that period, or
(e)a period of 14 days expires after the date on which the mediator’s tenure ends (by reason of death, resignation or otherwise) and a replacement mediator has not been appointed in that period.
(4) In this section—
“the Directive” means Directive 2008/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21st May 2008 on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters;
“mediation” and “mediator” have the meanings given by Article 3 of the Directive; and
“relevant cross-border dispute” means a cross-border dispute within the meaning given by Article 2 of the Directive.”.
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