12 April 2016
The Minister for Social Security has today (12 April 2016) lodged draft Regulations that would protect people in Jersey against age discrimination as well as amendments to the Employment Law which will protect armed forces reservists.
The age discrimination Regulations will protect people against age discrimination in recruitment, employment, clubs and associations, voluntary work and the provision of goods and services. The law also provides some sensible exceptions for situations where age discrimination would generally be accepted as fair, for example discounts to people of certain age groups and allowing shops to ask for proof of age when selling age-restricted goods.
Members of the public were invited to consider the proposals in December 2015 and the Minister has reviewed her plans as a result of the comments received. The consultation outcomes are summarised in a report that has also been presented to the States today.
As anticipated, the most complex issue has been retirement. Initially, the Regulations will allow an employer to continue requiring employees to retire at pensionable age (or later) without facing an age discrimination complaint. However, from September 2018, employers will have to justify their need for employees – of any age - to retire.
Minister for Social Security, Deputy Susie Pinel, said “There’s a balance to be struck between certainty and flexibility. Employers will need time to adjust to justifying any retirement but we must strive to meet the strategic aims of the Council of Ministers - to remove barriers to employment and increase participation for people who want to work beyond retirement age.”
Armed forces reservists
The Minister has also lodged an amendment to the Employment Law which will be debated by the Assembly on 24 May. It will introduce new employment rights for armed forces reservists in Jersey, similar to those that already exist in the UK.
Deputy Pinel said “Current Ministry of Defence strategy aims to increase the number of reservists by 2020, potentially doubling the numbers in the Jersey Field Squadron to around 80. Reserve service can be disruptive for the employer, particularly in a small business. However, these rights are vital to encourage sufficient numbers of people - with all types of skills and backgrounds - to commit to reserve service.”
The amendment will also introduce employee compensation of up to 4 weeks’ pay where an employer does not provide written terms of employment, pay slips and statutory rest day entitlement. The intention is to ensure that employers are meeting these fundamental, long-standing employment rights.
Deputy Pinel said “I had given a commitment to introduce protection against age discrimination this year and to provide greater employment protection for armed forces reservists. I am pleased that we are on track to achieve both of these targets subject, of course, to the States approving the legislation in May.”
The draft Age Discrimination Regulations will be debated on 24 May 2016 and if approved, will come into force on 1 September 2016. Training and guidance for employers and service providers will be provided by the Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service and Citizens Advice Jersey.