Help with workplace equality issues

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is reaching out to small businesses

“Of the 68,525 businesses in Northern Ireland in 2010, 98 per cent had fewer than 50 employees. They make up the lion’s share of businesses and are considered by many economists to be the single largest engine of potential job creation and key to future economic growth here. In fact, a recent report by the CBI (Confederation of British Industries) stated that SMEs create two thirds of all new jobs – they are the back bone of our economy and as such deserve our encouragement and support”, said the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland Chief Executive Evelyn Collins CBE.
In a recent survey carried out in association with the Federation of Small Business, the Commission asked small and medium-sized business which equality issues they found most difficult to deal with in the workplace.

The results of the survey have helped the Commission to focus on a number of areas which should address the needs of local businesses. They are offering practical advice and training programmes covering many of the issues raised, such as:

  • recruiting staff
  • making redundancies
  • managing employees’ pregnancy and maternity arrangements
  • flexible working patterns

The Equality Commission also have a support structure in place for all employers providing free and confidential services including a dedicated enquiry line, model policies and web-based advice specifically targeted at smaller employers.

They can provide in-house training and explain how ‘best practice’, often geared towards large business, can be tailored to fit small businesses.
For advice on a range of equality issues, you can contact the Equality Commission through their advice line on Tel 028 9089 0890, or by email at