March 9, 2022

Business Groups Respond to Request for Consultation

G4 business groups have jointly responded to a request for feedback on the Anti-Discrimination Legislation proposals.

  • The Institute of Directors IOD
  • Guernsey International Business Association GIBA
  • Guernsey’s Chamber of Commerce and
  • the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development CIPD

Their letter to Deputy Peter Roffey, which focusses on the principles of legislation, rather than the details of the ordinance, sent to the Committee for Employment & Social Security can be read here

From a GDA perspective there are a number of good points:

  • Supporting the legislation “Having considered the AD ordinance and the calls for a review of the principles which underpin it, our groups remain of the view that the AD ordinance represents a reasonable compromise for Guernsey. We observe that no law is perfect and every law takes time to settle in.
  • No need to pursue the Jersey Model “The process of compliance with a new AD legislative regime would be largely the same whichever regime is introduced, and due to the changes that were made in July 2020, we do not see that the Jersey model, for example, would result in markedly different substantive outcomes.” note: many of the changes mean the Guernsey legislation is now very similar
  • Understanding the International impact “We are also concerned that, were Guernsey to be seen as reversing from the policy decision reached in July 2020, this could be damaging to the message that it sends about Guernsey PLC’s willingness to meet important standards which are in place in most of the places with which we do business and have been for some time.
  • Significant resources spent on the legislation “Having invested significant and valuable States time on designing the AD regime, our groups would ask the States to now focus on addressing the island’s other present and serious issues with population, housing and tax to best ensure that the island remains open for business and able to support all members of our island community.

They have raised the following concerns:

  • Delaying implementation “Accordingly, and with these factors in mind, we invite the States to set the foundations for the successful implementation of the AD. This would be achieved by allowing businesses to experience a period of normal trading, and for the occupational health infrastructure to be expanded. Both of these aspects need to be addressed for the Island to benefit from properly implemented legislation. We therefore invite the States to consider delaying the implementation date for a short period while this is achieved. We emphasise ‘short period’ ­ we are not asking the States to defer the regime proposals indefinitely and would suggest a short pause of around 12 to 18 months.”

  • Phasing “We would also ask the States to reconsider the phasing that was approved in 2020. We had expressly called for the States to follow the Jersey model and introduce the protected characteristics year by year. That approach had allowed Jersey businesses and citizens the chance time to ‘get to grips’ with one protection before the next one was introduced. That request was not accepted and as a compromise we gave our support to a three­phased approach. During the debate, an amendment was brought reducing those phases to two in number. We remain of the view that more phases would achieve a better outcome, reducing the burden on business and facilitating a smoother transition. We urge the States to give this serious consideration.”
  • Review of the first phase of implementation “On a related note, and again learning from some past issues when new regimes have been introduced recently (such as population management), we would strongly support, as part of the roll­out plan, a detailed review of the first phase of implementation in order to improve the prospect of successfully introducing subsequent phases. We firmly believe that learning from post implementation problems will help the roll out of future phases”
  • Occupational health support “There is another concern that we expressed in 2020 which remains ­ and indeed has worsened – being the extent to which the existing occupational health infrastructure is adequately resourced to cope with the demands that will be placed on it by the new AD regime. Businesses are struggling already to get occupational health support. The need for that support is one of the most significant practical issues arising from the new regime and if the regime is launched without it in place, it risks being doomed to fail. That is not an outcome we want to see.”

We have reached out to G4 to meet and discuss these points in more detail. We welcome the support for the legislation and hope it will increase the drive to understand the law in more detail and reduce the fear around misinformation.

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