CIPD publishes manifesto to help HR in Northern Ireland post-Covid

The CIPD Northern Ireland has published its first manifesto outlining what the region's HR professionals want from a post-Covid recovery, tackling the impact of the pandemic, Brexit and the NI Protocol.

The manifesto makes 22 policy recommendations, including allowing NI employees a day-one right to request flexible working; boosted funding for education, particularly vocational routes; more commitment to lifelong learning; improved job quality and the introduction of a new Northern Ireland Employment Bill.

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Lee Ann Panglea, head of the CIPD in Scotland and Northern Ireland, said the CIPD and people professionals are keen to play a part in the post-Covid recovery of NI.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "This is the first election manifesto we have ever published in Northern Ireland and is a reflection of the importance of our 4,000 members here.

"With unique challenges and a very different policy landscape, our recommendations seek to make better work and working lives a reality for workers across Northern Ireland. Our members’ expertise and experience, especially over the last two years, are a valuable resource that we want to take to all political parties.”

The manifesto highlights many of the CIPD's UK-wide campaigns such as #FlexFrom1st for the right to request flexible working and its call to reform the Apprenticeship Levy to provide more routes into employment.

Similarly, the UK is also awaiting a long-overdue amendment to the Employment Bill, set to improve workers' rights, first promised in the Queen's Speech in 2019.

Marek Zemanik, senior public policy adviser at the CIPD in Scotland and Northern Ireland, said that the recommendations seek to target a long-standing mismatch in skills and over-qualification in the region.

Speaking to HR magazine, Zemanik said: "If anything, they [skills mismatches or over-qualification] have now been joined by labour shortages as one of the key concerns we hear about.

"Of course, the pandemic has only compounded big changes due to Brexit and the operation of the NI Protocol, which – coupled with political instability – create a unique set of challenges for our members in Northern Ireland.”

The full CIPD Northern Ireland manifesto, Better Work and Working Lives for Northern Ireland, can be found online here.