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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.

Registration, monitoring, review

What you need to know

How we can help

Making it work



Registration, Monitoring and Review

There are 6 key duties which by law employers have to do.

They are:

1. Register with the Equality Commission >

As an employer you are required to register with the Commission if you have 11 or more employees  working 16 hours or more per week. This should be done within one month of reaching this number of staff.

2. Monitor the community background of employees >

All registered employers should monitor the composition of their workforce in terms of community background and sex. We recommend using an equal opportunities monitoring form questionnaire.

3. Submit an annual monitoring return >

Registered employers are required to submit an annual monitoring return to us. A failure to submit a return is a criminal offence, as is failure to submit one within the prescribed period.

4. Complete an Article 55 review >

All registered employers should conduct reviews of the composition of their workforces and of their employment practices. These ‘Article 55’ reviews must be conducted at least once every three years.

Download the relevant booklet for your business/organisation:


5. Have regard to the Fair Employment Code of Practice >

This sets out recommendations and good practice for employers regarding their employment duties and responsibilities in Northern Ireland.

6. Take affirmative action >

Take affirmative action, where it is reasonable and appropriate to do so, and consider setting goals and timetables.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Are you concerned the processing of monitoring information may be a breach of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force on 25 May 2018?

Processing monitoring information is done to comply with the Fair Employment legislation1 and the consent of individual applicants or employees is not required. Employers are obliged to keep written information relating to monitoring for a period of 3-years after the application is made or 3-years after an employee leaves employment, whichever is longer.

The Commission’s Step by Step Guide sets out the information that registered employers are required to process including a copy of the monitoring questionnaire. A free copy of the Step by Step Guide is available online (pdf) or email for a hard copy publication.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) can provide further information on the GDPR and has an online checklist for employers


1 Article 6 (1) (c) of GDPR states that that in relation to the processing of personal data consent is not required from an individual where the processing is in order to comply with a legal obligation.

Article 52 of the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 requires registered employers to prepare for each year and serve on the Commission a monitoring return which contains such information about the employees of the employer and those applying for employment in the concern as may be prescribed in the Regulations.

The Fair Employment (Monitoring) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 set out in Schedule 1 the prescribed information. Regulation 17 obliges an employer to keep written information relating to monitoring for a period of 3 years after an employee leaves employment. Regulation 18 relates to applicant monitoring information and obliges the employer to retain that information for a period of 3 years after the application is made


< Employers and service providers

How we can help

If you require further assistance about registration, monitoring and reviews please email or telephone 028 90890888.

We believe that helping you promote and encourage good equal opportunities practice is as important as enforcing the equality law. Every year, the Commission helps hundreds of businesses and organisations comply with equality laws.

We recognise that employers' needs differ across sectors and businesses – so we tailor our services to meet employers’ varying needs.


We provide high quality training seminars and information sessions to employers on a wide range of equality issues.

These events provide advice and guidance on employers’ duties under current equality laws and on introducing best practice. We recommend that employers carefully consider their needs and choose the seminars and sessions which are of most benefit to them.


    Training sessions include:

   •  Introduction to understanding equality
   •  Equality training for line managers
   •  Recruiting fairly
   •  Bullying and harassment at work
   •  Pregnancy, maternity and flexible working
   •  Absence and performance management
   •  Promoting disability in the workplace 
   •  Reasonable steps defence
   •  How to complete an Article 55 Review
   •  Monitoring form workshops







We are flexible in terms of themes covered and can tailor courses to suit employers’ business needs. Further details are available on our employer training page or email - Tel: 02890 890888


In-house training

On occasion, the Commission can provide in-house training for organisations.  Where we agree to such a request, we will normally deliver one session to key staff within the organisation and assist them to disseminate the training internally. For in-house training requests email or Tel: 028 90 500560.

Speakers for your event

If you are organising an equality related event, our staff can share their expertise to highlight relevant issues in equality law that relate to your business priorities. For further information, contact Paul Oakes  Tel: 028 90 500600.

Employer equality networks

We organize regional and sectoral networks to enable employers to work with the Equality Commission and other employers to address common issues, challenges and opportunities. The networks are as follows:

Regional Equality Networks Sectoral Equality Networks
  • Antrim and Ballymena
  • Armagh and Newry
  • Fermanagh area
  • Retail sector
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths)
  • Voluntary sector

Members currently include Iceland Foods Plc, Tesco, Sainsburys, Primark, Henderson Group, Winemark, Marks & Spencer, Co-Op, Dunnes Stores, IKEA, House of Fraser, Homebase, Botanic Inns Ltd, Debenhams and Asda.  Read more>

If you are an employer and would like to join an Employer Network email: or Tel: 02890 890888


Employer news ezine

To receive updates on our training seminars, events and employer equality networks sign up to receive our Employer & Service Providers' Newsletter using the subscribe button at the bottom of the page.



Making equality workMaking Equality Work

We believe that helping you to promote good equal opportunities practice is as important as enforcing equality law.  When you do something good why not share it so that others can see how to make equality work for them?

We help all kinds of organisations to use equality as the guiding principle for the way they operate and reap the rewards of diversity as well as achieving a reputation as a great organisation to work for and do business with!

View some examples of how other organisations have made equality work for them.


Southern Trust
Respecting cultural diversity in delivering health services


Belfast Trust
Addressing employability for people with mental health disabilities


Graham Construction
Moving beyond compliance to equality champions


Waterways Ireland
Enabling Fair employment through affirmative action


South West College
Welcoming statements


How Ladbrokes enable disabled customers to use their services



Does your organisation have examples of good practice that worked for you?

Tell us about it using the form below and we can feature your organisation here too.

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This is a selection of publications (pdfs) that are most relevant to monitoring and review.     
  • Article 55 Report structure for small organisations (50 employees or less)pdf (1mb) word doc (1.4mb)
  • Article 55 Report structure for large organisations (51 employees or more) - pdf (1.1mb) word doc (3.2mb)

Latest Monitoring Report (from 2016 monitoring returns)
Monitoring Report  

Please contact our Advice and Compliance team if you need further advice Tel: 02890 890888. If you are looking for a particular publication, you can search our publications database
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