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Discrimination Legislation proposals to be re-focussed

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Friday 08 November 2019

Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, has today announced in the States that in light of the feedback received to the public consultation on its draft policy proposals for new discrimination legislation, the Committee has decided to re-focus on the delivery of a reduced set of proposals.

Employment & Social Security will bring proposals to the States by no later than April 2020, for legislation to protect disabled persons and carers of disabled persons from discrimination. The working draft definition of 'disability' will, amongst other things, be revisited in the light of the feedback received.

Employment & Social Security also intends to press ahead with protection on the grounds of race, religious belief and sexual orientation, as the consultation has indicated that this can be done with only minor modifications to the proposed approach outlined in the consultation document. However, this will be contingent on making sufficient progress in respect of disability and carer status.

For the time being, work will be suspended on the other grounds of protection which were included in Employment & Social Security's draft policy proposals which were published in July 2019, namely: age, carer status (in relation to parents), marital status, pregnancy or maternity status, sex, and trans status. However, an indicative timeline will be included in the Committee's policy letter for when these grounds should be addressed and included in the legislation.

Deputy Le Clerc, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, said:

"Our draft proposals received a massive, but mostly polarised, response. Some people and organisations strongly support the Committee's proposals, while others strongly oppose. The Committee is of the view that the proposals, in their current form, would be highly unlikely to obtain the majority support of the States due to concerns, primarily coming from the business community, that the proposals are not proportionate for Guernsey and will place the island at a competitive disadvantage. The Committee cannot countenance wholesale rejection of its proposals. The Committee, therefore, will use the very short time left in this political term to refocus its efforts on a more limited scope in the grounds of protection.

"It is important to understand that much of the most challenging and critical feedback is related to disability discrimination. Addressing this alone will require a substantial commitment of time and resources. However, we promised that we would introduce protection on the grounds of disability (including for carers of disabled people) this term, as our core priority.

"I know this will be disappointing news to some of our stakeholders, but we remain committed to this work.  We will re-focus on the delivery of a reduced set of proposals which, if approved, will create a strong foundation for future expansion by the successors of the current Assembly."

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