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Access to Work scheme supported by the States

Access to Work scheme supported by the States

Friday 28 April 2023

Access to Work scheme supported by the States

Friday 28 April 2023

The States of Guernsey will financially support smaller businesses in making adjustments to the workplace, removing barriers for people with disabilities.

One of the protective grounds under the new Prevention of Discrimination Ordinance – which comes into force on 1 October – is disability.

“The ordinance included [a requirement for] employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees where those employees would otherwise be placed at a substantial disadvantage,” said the President of Employment & Social Security, Deputy Peter Roffey. 

“These adjustments are often free or cheap to make and have the positive effect of removing barriers that otherwise prevent disabled persons from accessing or remaining employment.” 


Pictured: The Prevention of Discrimination Ordinance will require employers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the office for people with disabilities. 

Despite this, the duty is limited by the concept of ‘disproportionate burden’. If the cost of making the adjustments is disproportionate to the company’s size and resources, then the adjustments don’t have to be done. 

This has the potential to result in a scenario where the businesses with the largest resources will be able to hire more disabled persons, and their employment will be skewed away from smaller firms. 

To ensure this doesn’t happy, ESS successfully proposed a scheme called the ‘Access to Work’ scheme and the States Assembly agreed yesterday to amend the Social Insurance Law to widen the existing powers of ESS, allowing it to make arrangements and grants (capped at £5,000) to smaller businesses who need to make adjustments in the work place but can’t afford to. 

Inside States Chamber 

Pictured: The Access to Work scheme was voted through by the States Assembly yesterday.

In line with the UK and Jersey the Committee is proposing this is called the Access to Work scheme. 

"[The Committee] is proposing its model is based on Jersey’s Access to Work scheme, which limits its grants to a one-time cost for equipment or rates,” said Deputy Roffey. 

"This is a benefit of complementing rather than replacing or competing with the services that are already available on island, mainly through third sector organisations. It also addresses one of the biggest gaps in existing service provision.

"It is estimated the Access to Work scheme will cost no more than £50,000 per year. 

The proposal was supported wholeheartedly by the Vice-President of the Committee, Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez: “I think this is really great. It's a very small cost in terms of the actual benefits we will create and what we can do in the future. 

The proposal was voted through unanimously with only three people absent from the chamber. 

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