- an individual employed under a contact of service, or
- an individual employed under a contract personally to execute any work or labour (e.g. a self-employed person).
If you think information contained within our register regarding your company or organisation is inaccurate, please click here to advise us of the correct details. For the purposes of this Amendment of Details form, tick the box relevant to the details you wish to amend, type in the changes and email the form as an attachment, or print and post it to us.
All registered employers must monitor their workforce by community or background (Protestant, Roman Catholic or non-determined):
- by gender
- by Standard Occupational Classification
- promotees (250+ employers and public sector only)
- job leavers (250 employers and public sector only)
For information on the relevant Standard Occuptaional Classifications (SOC codes), please view the website of the Office of National Statistics. These SOC codes are contained in two separate documents, Vol 1 and Vol 2.
For information on how to monitor the composition of your workforce please refer to our Step by Step Guide to Monitoring.
The Commission produces an annual research report based on employers monitoring data. You can access the most recent Fair Employment Monitoring Report from our Publications section. The report includes data on the employment composition of individual employers where there are ten or more employees from the Protestant or Roman Catholic communities. The Commisssion does not publish information on individual employers where there are less than ten Protestant or Roman Catholics as this may identify individual employers and would breach monitoring regulations.
Under Article 55 of the Fair Employment and Treatment (NI) Order 1998, all concerns registered with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland have a statutory duty to carry out a Review of their employment composition and practices at least once every three years. The Commission provides documentation to assist employers complete their Article 55 Reviews. The following links provide access to this documentation relevant to your business/organisation´s current make-up:
The purpose of this review is to:
- determine whether members of each community are enjoying, and are likely to continue to enjoy, fair participation in employment;
- to make a determination on fair participation employers will need to give consideration to the catchment areas and the labour availability from which it draws its workforce;
- where fair participation is absent employers must consider appropriate affirmative action; and
- where practicable, set goals and timetables.
Please consult our Article 55 Review - A Guide for Employers for more detailed information on issues pertaining to fair participation in employment, catchment areas, labour availability, affirmative action and goals and time tables, amongst other relevant issues. You may also view an affirmative action model plan by clicking here.
Fair participation in employment is one of the primary aims of the legislation. It involves arriving at a situation where Catholics and Protestants enjoy proportionate representation in terms of extent of employment, in types of employment and at all levels of employment.
Employers must therefore assess how many members of the Catholic and Protestant communities are employed throughout each of the major job groupings in their organisation. A similar assessment should be made of applicants for vacancies. Any assessment concerning fair participation will involve making comparisons between what an employer would reasonably expect and the appropriate catchment areas for the particular job grade in question. Where fair participation does not exist, employers must decide on the affirmative action that would be appropriate, including the use of goals and timetables. Click here to view a sample affirmative action plan.
Where appropriate, affirmative action measures should be accompanied by the setting of goals and timetables. These should be used as measures of the progress towards the achievement of fair participation. The goals and timetables which are appropriate will depend upon what the review reveals and the specific circumstances of the company. For example, organisations with high labour turnover may be able to set more challenging goals than those with low labour turnover.
While goals and timetables should be realistic, they should also be challenging and reflect a commitment to make sustained efforts to ensure fair participation.
Goals and timetables should not be confused with the introduction of ´quotas´, that is, reserving specific numbers or proportions of positions for members of one community. This type of action is unlawful.
Catchment area can be defined as the area from within which an employer would reasonably be expected to recruit for particular jobs in his/her organisation. It is rarely the case that an employer’s catchment areas correspond exactly to the area in the immediate vicinity of the company’s premises. Employers should not make ready assumptions about their catchment areas and whether or not fair participation exists in their company until they have examined a number of pieces of information.
It is also important to recognise that the current pattern of employment in Northern Ireland is, to a greater or lesser extent, a reflection of past discrimination and segregation. In consequence, the present employment pattern may be unnecessarily restrictive in some instances.
The first need is to identify where the current workforce is drawn from. This should be done for each occupational group and location.
The second need is to examine the home addresses of recent job applicants.
Having collected this information, an employer is able to define the geographical areas which provide the existing workforce and job applicants. The employer is therefore in a position to identify geographical areas which may be within reach but which are providing very few or no employees or job applicants. Reasons for this must be sought.
There are a number of factors which will help to determine the area from which a company draws its labour. For example:
- Rates of pay. Lower paid jobs, as a general rule, are likely to attract labour from a more localised area whereas better paid positions are more likely to attract people from further afield.
- Methods of notifying vacancies. The practices by which people learn of job opportunities in any company will influence the employment patterns there.
- Specific qualifications or specialised abilities. The need to recruit people with particular expertise or training will have a direct effect on the potential applicant pool. Such vacancies will normally need to be notified over a wider area.
- Travelling conditions. Is the location accessible? If public transport is infrequent or non-existent, this may have a bearing on how easily people can get to the location. Travelling time and the existence of shift work may also be relevant factors.
- Alternative employment. The proximity of other companies and their respective working conditions and rates of pay may affect employment patterns.
The above factors, acting alone or in combination, will help to determine the catchment areas for any company. There may be other factors which come into play. What is important is that employers should seek to deal positively with any factors which have the effect of restricting the potential applicant pool for any type of job or any location.
After the appropriate catchment area has been identified for each major job group, the employer should seek to assess the availability for employment of members of each community within those catchment areas. For each catchment area the employer should discover the community composition of:
- the overall population;
- those who are unemployed;
- those having the skills for the particular job in question; and
- school leavers.
In making an assessment relating to fair participation employers should compare their own workforce compositions with these figures.
In this context employers should also consider the availability of promotable or trainable members of any under-represented community background within their own organisation.
The purpose of a review is to determine whether for members of each community there is fair participation and, if this is the case, whether the situation is likely to continue. Where fair participation does not exist, employers must decide on the affirmative action that would be appropriate, including the use of goals and timetables. Click here to view a sample affirmative action plan.
In general terms, affirmative action can be defined as being anything consistent with the legislation which is necessary to bring about positive change. Affirmative action measures should be designed to bring about such change and any employer who discovers a problem area or potential problem area should take action to resolve the situation. This applies at any time and not simply to something discovered during the conduct of a review. There is no need for an employer to wait to be required to take action by the Commission but naturally the Commission can be consulted at any time for advice about action which an employer is contemplating.
The Commission considers that the successful implementation of any affirmative action programme is likely to occur where the employees and management work together to achieve the aims of the programme. For this reason consultation with recognised trade unions or employee representatives should take place following the review, prior to the introduction of any affirmative action programme and at various stages thereafter.
The type of affirmative action measures which are appropriate will follow from the analysis of what the review reveals. Each organisation should draw up a programme which is suitable for its particular needs. All employment practices and procedures should be examined to see if they have an adverse impact on members of a particular community. Unless the use of the practices or procedures can be shown to be justifiable they must be abandoned and replaced by measures which ensure equality of opportunity for all job applicants and employees.
- Where members of one community are applying in fewer numbers than might reasonably be expected, it could be decided to include a statement in advertisements that applications from that group are particularly welcome;
- If a lower proportion of members of one community is recruited, then changes to the recruitment procedures may be appropriate;
- If fewer members of one community are represented in senior positions than might reasonably be expected, then it might be appropriate to devise a training or development programme which would fit members of that group for promotion but would not exclude members of any other group;
- If members of a community are under-represented in the workforce, a training programme for that community may be appropriate.
The representation of members of one community in some organisations may be affected by a ‘chill factor’. This occurs where members of one community can feel discouraged or prevented from applying for employment in an organisation because it is traditionally associated with the other community. Attempts to overcome a ‘chill factor’ must be made by adopting appropriate affirmative action measures.
There are three areas outlined in the legislation where affirmative action is likely to have the greatest impact on the provision of equality and the achievement of fair participation and which are excepted from complaints of direct or indirect discrimination. They cover:
- Encouraging applications from the under-represented group to achieve a more representative pool from which employees will be selected.
- The provision of training. An employer may provide training for people at a particular location or for people of a particular class to help fit them for employment but may not confine the training to members of one community.
In some circumstances an employer may be allowed to develop training programmes focussed solely on individuals of a particular religious belief.
The amendment of redundancy procedures to ensure that gains made as a result of affirmative action measures at the recruitment stage are not automatically lost in the event of redundancies. Any new procedures may not be framed by reference to a particular religious belief or political opinion.