Good employers ‘have nothing to fear’

GOOD employers who treat their staff with respect and support them in the workplace have ‘nothing to fear’ from anti-discrimination legislation, the president of the committee leading the legislation has said.

Employment & Social Security president Deputy Peter Roffey. (29365064)
Employment & Social Security president Deputy Peter Roffey. (29365064)

‘I’m going to need to ask for forgiveness for my bluntness, but [Employment & Social Security] simply does not recognise the description of this important work based on the outline in the [Guernsey Policy and Economic Group] media release,’ Deputy Peter Roffey said.

GPEG raised concerns about the ‘blank cheque’ nature of the proposed legislation, as well as its seeming lack of cohesion to Jersey’s legislation where parallels could be obviously drawn.

In defence, Deputy Roffey said: ‘Some of GPEG’s concerns focus on cost, which I presume relate to the cost of making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate disabled employees and service users.

‘More often than not, reasonable adjustments are inexpensive. Plenty of research has been done and concluded that workplace adjustments not only are low cost, but also positively impact the workplace in many ways.’

The impact assessment carried out in the UK in 2009 concluded that the projected economic impact was uncertain, but likely to result in a very significant positive benefit at one end of the scale, and only possibly a slight negative dis-benefit at the other.

‘This kind of impact assessment would be a specialist consultancy task, which would need a significant budget attached if we were to repeat this exercise for Guernsey separately,’ Deputy Roffey said.

‘The result is likely to be much the same here.

‘Indeed the expected very significant positive benefit is part of the reason why other Western jurisdictions have equality legislation and we have no reason to suspect that Guernsey would be any different.’

While GPEG said that the UK legislation appears to have been overlooked, ESS said it had already stated publicly that it moved more in line with UK legislation than that of Ireland or Australia.

Deputy Roffey urged GPEG representatives to read the policy letter for what was trying to be achieved fully if they had not done so.

‘If they have done so and misunderstood, then I’d like to reassure them and the whole business community that ESS is fully committed to making sure anti-discrimination legislation is proportionate and appropriate for us in Guernsey,’ he said.

ESS said it is committed to working with employers throughout the project, to understand any concerns they have and reassure them of the impact the legislation will have.

‘We last month formed the Discrimination Legislation Stakeholder Group, which will provide a mechanism for feedback to the committee on the plans for implementing the new Discrimination Ordinance.

‘Ultimately though, to any employer in Guernsey I say this; if you are already a good employer that treats your staff with respect and supports them in the workplace if they have additional needs, then you have nothing to fear from anti-discrimination legislation.’

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News