Employment Bill: Committee Stage (Period Extension)

– in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:15 pm on 17 September 2002.

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Photo of Esmond Birnie Esmond Birnie UUP 2:15, 17 September 2002

I beg to move

That, in accordance with Standing Order 31(5), the period referred to in Standing Order 31(3) be extended to 18 October 2002, in relation to the Committee Stage of the Employment Bill (NIA 11/01).

The Employment Bill received its Second Stage reading on 5 June 2002 and was referred to the Committee for Employment and Learning on 6 June 2002. It is important legislation that will introduce a series of measures designed to help employees better balance their family life with their employment responsibilities, while taking into account the needs of businesses.

The measures include amendments to existing legislation to improve maternity rights, a provision for two weeks’ paid paternity leave, adoption leave and pay for parents, and a duty on employers to consider seriously requests from parents with young or disabled children to work flexible hours.

The Committee is committed to ensuring that it carries out its responsibilities fully in rigorously scrutinising the Bill. Members have discussed the Bill at eight meetings, and we have received oral and written submissions from several interested parties.

Several proposed amendments have been debated, and to ensure that due and proper consideration is given to them, the Committee seeks an extension to 18 October to allow it sufficient time to consider the Bill fully and to report its findings. We intend to complete our work as quickly as possible, and I assure Members that we will not take any more time than is absolutely necessary to ensure that all the legislation is in place before the dissolution of the House. I ask Members for their support.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved:

That, in accordance with Standing Order 31(5), the period referred to in Standing Order 31(3) be extended to 18 October 2002, in relation to the Committee Stage of the Employment Bill (NIA 11/01).