Article by Gerladine McGahey
View from the Chair article published in The News Letter, 12 April 2022 by Geraldine McGahey, Chief Commissioner, Equality Commission
The most visited part of our website is the fair employment monitoring section, and it’s clear employers are committed to ensuring that they comply with their legal responsibilities. It’s also clear that these are still very difficult times for employers and timely support is required so that employers can fulfill their fair employment responsibilities in the best way possible. So from now through to July, we’re offering training to employers on both fair employment monitoring and Article 55 Reviews.
The short on-line fair employment monitoring webinars will outline how employers can ensure they comply with their duties under the law to collate, submit and retain the relevant data. We’ll discuss the completion of the annual monitoring return and are happy to answer any queries employers may have. It is important that any employers who have had difficulties obtaining and submitting monitoring information due to the pandemic attend these sessions, so that they can get back on track and comply with their duties.
For employers working on completion of a three-yearly Article 55 review, the online training sessions will provide you with an overview of some key aspects of the review, looking at fair participation as an underpinning theme running throughout the review process. We will provide guidance to help you identify geographical catchment areas for your organisation and related comparator ranges. These are key to the assessment of fair participation and, as benchmarking tools, help the analysis and evaluation of workforce composition and workforce flows. So, if you are working towards completing an Article 55 Review for your organization, and if your initial work on your review has thrown up some questions, please bring them to the webinar and we will address them during the session or, if that’s not possible, as soon as we can after it. If you don’t want to ask your question in public, you can always ring us or email for one-to-one advice. These are small workshops, maximum 16 places at each, so book early to make sure you get a place.
It is of course important that not only are these fair employment duties complied with by employers, but also that they add real value to employer’s businesses. For instance, the information that you review will enable you to make sound decisions on your employment and equality policies, for example, your policies on how staff are recruited and selected. For the Commission’s part, we will continue to publish the monitoring data that employers gather, and we will soon be publishing the 31st annual Fair Employment Monitoring Report. This report is really important and enables comparisons of the community composition across the public and private sectors as well as across different types of employment, full-time and part-time.
To make it more convenient for employers, our system for submitting monitoring forms h
as moved online - www.equalityni.org/OnlineSubmissions
It’s a priority for us to continue working with employers on improving equality for everyone in Northern Ireland’s workplaces. Society here is changing, and it’s inevitable that the workforce will change too. As part of our work reviewing and making recommendations about updating the equality categories that are used, we are working to have racial background included in monitoring information.
I’d like to thank you on behalf of the Commission for doing what you do and offer any help we can give. There’s information on monitoring at www.equalityni.org/A55
The webinars run every month from now to July, all the details of both Fair Employment Monitoring and Article 55 Reviews sessions are online at www.equalityni.org/training