Monday 13 March 2023
The Employment and Equal Opportunities Service Law, an essential part of the legislative package required to support the introduction of the Prevention of Discrimination Ordinance, is being submitted to the States for consideration at their meeting on Wednesday 26th April.
The Prevention of Discrimination Ordinance will come into effect on 1st October 2023 when it will become unlawful to discriminate against a person on the grounds of race, disability, carer status, sexual orientation and religion or belief in employment, the provision of goods and services, education and accommodation, and in the membership of clubs and associations.
Over the coming months the existing Employment Relations Service will be developed into the Employment and Equal Opportunities Service (EEOS) to recognise its expanded function beyond the field of employment law. The EEOS will be led by a Statutory Official, to be known as the Director of the Employment and Equal Opportunities Service. The new law establishes the office of the Director and sets out the Director's powers and functions. This position will replace an existing full-time post in the Employment Relations Service team. That team will transfer to the EEOS. This structural change is being made in order to guarantee operational independence when managing employment-related and discrimination-related complaints which might involve the States of Guernsey.
In addition to the functions already carried out by the Employment Relations Service, the EEOS will offer free pre-complaint conciliation to try to help people to resolve employment and discrimination issues early, with the aim of reducing the number of formal complaints made.
Deputy Peter Roffey, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security said:
"This is a vital piece of legislation that will establish the functions and powers of the Director of the Employment & Equal Opportunities Service, who has a key role under the Prevention of Discrimination Ordinance, which will come into force on 1st October 2023.
Given the current pressures on public finances, it is important to stress that the Employment and Equal Opportunities Service, which the full-time Director will lead, is in part a reshaping and rebranding of the existing Employment Relations Service to recognise its expanded function. The transition to the new model is in line with the policy and budget proposals approved by the States in July 2020 and the budget allocated to the Committee for 2023."