Our 16th Annual Conference for Employment Law for HR professionals took place on 5 June 2019 to a sold out audience. We are delighted to have had such a full and varied programme delivered by the EEF NI legal team and external Speakers, all experts in their individual fields. The Conference was a great success and brought delegates up to date with developments in employment law affecting HR practice while providing them with ideas to help with setting their strategic goals.

The Conference commenced with Karen Moore from our legal team providing a comprehensive overview of the top cases affecting practice over the last year with a focus on disability cases. With tens of thousands of Tribunal Claims being lodged claiming holiday pay, Kathryn O’Lone from our legal team clearly set out how to calculate holiday pay and provided practical strategies for businesses dealing with issues. From a legislative point of view, Tom Penman, Baker Tilly Mooney Moore demystified PENP making us more aware of what and when termination payments are and are not taxable.

Tom Evans, Chief Executive and Helen Smyth, Senior Employment Relations Manager of the Labour Relations Agency made a breaking news announcement about Early Conciliation informing delegates that it would be introduced in Northern Ireland from January 2020. ACAS (the equivalent off the LRA in GB) introduced early conciliation in April 2014. This means that a Claimant must first go to the LRA before being able to lodge a claim in the Tribunal.

The Conference also built on the key themes of 2018/12019 including Mental Health and improving Gender Equality / Leadership. We were delighted to welcome back our members, Inspire and Action Mental Health who partnered with us at our hugely successful Positive Mental Health: making workplaces thrive Conference we held in February 2019. They delivered sessions on Mental Health First Aid and Developing Resilience.  We also had a very thought provoking session on Authentic Leadership and what values are important. In terms of gender equality, the Commissioner for Public Appointments encourage increased female participation in public life and explained the key leadership role many of our members could have on public boards.

Our Head of Training, Lorraine Toolan provided a session on how businesses can Minimize their Risk to Reputation and GDPR a year on.

Of course no Conference would have been complete without mentioning the ‘B’ word – Brexit. Tim Thomas, from our UK sister organisation, the rebranded MAKEUK managed to provided a very comprehensive (and yet entertaining session) on Brexit and what it means in terms of the movement of people and data. With employment at an all time high, Tom Hadley, from Recruitment & Employment Confederation discussed what Organisations should be considering in terms of the Innovation in Recruitment and the Future Way of Working.

We also welcomed a number Exhibitors to our Conference.  These included some of the Organisations that are presenting – Inspire, Action Mental Health, The Commission for Public Appointments and Labour Relations Agency who provide more information on their services and of course some freebies.  We are also welcoming Women in Business and Diversity Mark NI, an organization whose aim is to promote career progression and create environments that are fair and positive for females, males & third gender people.  Some of our Members have already signed up to the Charter.

All in all a great day was had by everyone!