The Committee for Employment and Social Security has welcomed support for the implementation of anti-discrimination legislation, received from a group of business leaders.
G4 – now G3 - is a collective of business groups, including: the Guernsey Institute of Directors, Guernsey Chamber of Commerce and the Guernsey International Business Association.
The collective penciled a joint letter to the President of ESS, Deputy Peter Roffey, offering their support for the incoming anti-discrimination legislation (AD).
Pictured: ESS hopes to have the island’s first anti-discrimination legislation voted through this summer.
G3 has been following the ongoing work to implement anti-discrimination legislation since the original proposals were put forward in 2019. They soon raised concerns about the impact some of the legislation might have on small businesses.
However, they supported the amended policy letter passed in July 2020 that would allow ESS to develop the Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance.
“At the time when we gave our support to the AD proposals, we reminded the States that Covid and Brexit had caused unprecedented challenges for the Guernsey business community,” said G3.
“We asked the States to bear those challenges, and particularly the costs arising from them, in mind.”
It welcomed the amended draft ordinance and would like to see it voted through this summer. ESS hopes to bring the legislation to States for debate between July and September this year.
In the subsequent months after the States agreed to legislate against discrimination based on several factors, an “apolitical think-tank” called the Guernsey Policy and Economic Group dismissed large sections of the legislation
G4 has argued that the published legislation is a reasonable compromise and any calls for further review and change would be detrimental.
“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,” said the group.
“Having invested significant and valuable States time on designing the ADL, 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.”
This isn’t to say G3 don’t have some suggestions, including delaying the rollout of the legislation to allow businesses to fully acclimate.
Pictured: The move towards legislating against discrimination has been welcomed by many in the community.
“We invite the States to set the foundations for the successful implementation of the ADL,” said G3.
“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.”
ESS has welcomed the ongoing dialogue with G3 while disagreeing with some of the group’s suggestions.
“The broad support from the major business groups of Giba, the IoD, the CIPD and Chamber hopefully dispels any notion of businesses being opposed to the legislation,” said ESS.
“Of particular note is the G4’s view, of which we wholeheartedly agree, that any reversal of the decision the States made in 2020 could be damaging to the island’s reputation based on what it says about Guernsey PLC's willingness to meet important standards which are in place in most jurisdictions where we collectively do business.
“Where we do have a difference of opinion with the G4 is on the suggestion of a delay. While we have some sympathy with their points around the impact of the pandemic, we’re not convinced that putting back the implementation of phase one is necessary but we’re grateful for the positive way the G4 has continued to engage with us and will continue discussions with them to better understand their concerns.”
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