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Employment Relations Act 2004

Information & Consultation: Northern Ireland

299.Section 43 provides separate powers for the Department of Employment and Learning Northern Ireland (DELNI) to make regulations on information and consultation.

300.Although the Information and Consultation Directive applies to the UK as a whole, employment is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and it will put in place its own regulations on information and consultation. DELNI intends to make regulations mirroring those the Government intends to make in relation to Great Britain, and also issued the consultation document; High Performance Workplaces: Informing and Consulting Employees, in 2003 (see paragraph 290 for internet link).

301.During times when the Northern Ireland Assembly is suspended, Northern Ireland usually implements employment legislation which mirrors employment legislation in Great Britain by means of an Order in Council. DELNI proposes to bring forward legislation mirroring the provisions of this Act in this way. However, during House of Commons Committee an amendment was made to the Bill, at the request of the Minister for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland, to provide a power to enable DELNI to make regulations on information and consultation directly under the Act. This will enable Northern Ireland to meet the March 2005 deadline for implementing the Information and Consultation Directive regardless of whether devolution is restored in the meantime.

302.The powers in section 43 mirror those in section 42 as described in the paragraphs above, save for the need to make specific reference to Northern Ireland institutions and legislation in subsections (1), (4), (5), (7), (8) and (9).

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