Explanatory Memorandum

Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

2016 CHAPTER 15

22nd April 2016

Commentary on Sections

Protected Disclosures

Section 17: Extension of meaning of “worker”

This section amends Article 67K of the ERO 1996 in relation to protected disclosures. Article 67K extends the meaning of "worker" for Part VA of the ERO 1996. The effect of the amendment is that student nurses and student midwives who undertake work experience as part of a course of education or training approved by, or under arrangements with, the Nursing and Midwifery Council in accordance with article 15(6)(a) of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 will fall within the extended definition of worker who may make a protected disclosure. A student nurse or student midwife who makes a protected disclosure concerning his/her work experience may bring a claim against the person providing that work experience, which will be determined by industrial tribunal.

In addition, section 17 introduces a power in Article 67K of the ERO 1996 to permit the Department to amend, by order, the definition of “worker” in that Article. The power can be used to increase the scope of protection. It can, however, only be used to remove categories of individuals where, in the opinion of the Department, no such individuals exist (i.e. the category has become obsolete).