FOLLOWING the publication of the policy letter outlining the proposed approach to anti-discrimination legislation, the island’s business groups welcome the changes made by the Committee for Employment & Social Security (ESS) and the significant amount of work done to date on this project.
We have always been clear in our support for appropriate anti-discrimination legislation, and over the last two months, the G4 and the CIPD have been able to consider these revised proposals and the policy letter due for debate in July.
We have been keen advocates for the adoption of the Jersey system as we believe this has been proven to work, could have been rapidly implemented and was familiar to some businesses in Guernsey, especially those with a pan-island presence.
Given recent events, we agree that now is the time for action and, therefore, we support the Committee for Employment and Social Security’s proposal for anti-disability discrimination. In doing so, we are mindful of employers’ concerns over cost and bureaucracy, particularly at a time when businesses are grappling with CV19 and Brexit, and we hope that the States will bear in mind the unprecedented challenges facing the Guernsey business community at this time.
Throughout the review process, we have asked for an impact analysis from the States to help better inform the understanding of the practical implications of the proposed legislation. As the island’s largest employer and estate owner, it is essential that the insights from the States’ analysis are factored in. That has not been made available, and we ask again for this vital analysis to help prepare local businesses and ensure successful implementation when the detailed legislation and guidance is drafted.
We are keen to work alongside government and other stakeholders throughout the legislative process to ensure a smooth and successful implementation. The business community will need time and support to adapt to the significant changes that the regime will require of their policies and procedures. In that respect, we note that a phased implementation has worked particularly well in Jersey and strongly advocate that a similar approach be taken here.
This is particularly important because the legislation is a hybrid of law from different jurisdictions outside of the UK and Jersey. This means that there is no ready-made guidance or source of help, nor is there any standard documentation available. As a consequence, extensive guidance will be particularly useful for businesses leaders, especially on the disability elements of the law. Additionally, a particular concern for our members is that the new regime will depend upon an adequately resourced occupational health infrastructure to support the implementation.
Guernsey’s economic and social wellbeing depends on a thriving business community and we hope we can work together to bring about legislation that best serves the whole island.