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Our Annual Employment Law & HR Conference was held at the Crowne Plaza on 27 September 2023.

This year our Conference was fully booked and we were delighted to be joined by so many managers and HR professionals from both Member and non-Member organisations.

Our Conference is our flagship event of the year and it’s a great opportunity for networking amongst the various businesses and to catch-up on a personal level.

Importantly, it is also a day full of learning with lots of insights and practical take aways.

Karen Moore, Head of Training (NI & ROI) welcomed all delegates and opened the day.

The morning session then started with Kathryn O’Lone, Head of ROI & Business Improvement leading us through the most topical cases of the year and providing key learnings for employers. Amongst the variety of cases covered, Kathryn looked at the balancing of competing beliefs in the workplace and the latest decision around menopause in the workplace.

Next we had a very practical “What if” session from Sara Plower, Employment Lawyer dealing with the complex issues that can arise when managing absence such as ‘When can you withhold sick pay?‘ and ‘What if they refuse to attend OH?’

After the mid-morning break we heard from our three external speakers. Sharon Didrichsen is the Founder and Managing Director of Specialisterne NI, an organisation whose aim is to help neurodivergent people secure and sustain rewarding careers. Sharon provided a real insight into how businesses can unlock the potential of neurodivergent persons.

Sarah McKay, Vice President of Service Delivery at Concentrix followed with ESG, ‘What does it mean?’ identifying the why in ‘Why even do it?’ and provided a practical pathway explaining how a business can develop their ESG strategy.

The Federation was then privileged to be joined by Vice President of OITFET, Maxine Orr who delivered a thoroughly engaging session overviewing of the process of Judicial Mediation in NI. The Vice President was able to give us an insight into how it is working, including up to date statistics and experience of the Tribunal to date.

Lunch provided a further opportunity to network and catch-up.

After lunch, Kathryn O’Lone lead us through a panel session with: Helen McCann, HR Manager at Kyocera AVX UK; Bridgeen Mullin, Head of Employee Relations – Senior Vice President, Fintru; Sharon Didrichsen and Peter Bloch, Managing Director of Employers Federation. The panel shared insights and experiences on issues such as diversity, recruitment, industrial action and Artificial Intelligence.

Karen Moore then led delegates through a practical scenario covering requests for anonymity during a disciplinary process.

This was followed by Lorraine Toolan, Employers Federation Consultant who addressed workplace grievances through the lens of whether the employer’s approach is helping or harming.

Finally Michelle McGinley, Director of Legal and Policy ended the day with a review of the policy and legal developments throughout the last year and a look forward into 2024.

We would like to thank all who attended the day and to the exhibitors that included:
Action Mental Health; Autism NI; AWARE NI; Cedar Foundation; Disability Action Northern Ireland; Employers For Childcare; Inspire Therapeutic & Wellbeing Services; The Labour Relations Agency; Parenting NI Charity; PIPS Suicide Prevention Ireland Charity; Rainbow Charity and; Women in Business NI

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