Helen Ruelle October 27 2022 Discrimination law, gender pay gap reporting and changes to Jersey's Control of Housing and Work Law Ogier | Private Client & Offshore Services - Jersey Helen Ruelle Private Client & Offshore Services Control of Housing and Work LawDiscrimination law and gender pay gapCommentEmployment rights in Jersey have progressed in recent years. A few decades ago, employment legislation in Jersey was minimal, and having employment law experience was rare. Now, however, employment law has been well established. This article discusses some changes on the horizon and how discrimination law and the gender pay gap issue can move in a positive direction.Control of Housing and Work LawA big development, approved in March 2022, are the amendments to the Control of Housing and Work Law, which replace registration cards with a "permissions" system more akin to that in Guernsey. What is likely to happen is that the two regimes (the old system and the amended system) will run simultaneously, because people will have rights under the current law that would change under the new system.For example, automatic graduation from one residential status to another may no longer be possible. In addition, employers will not be able to "recycle" permissions as they sometimes can now. This will be one of the challenges that comes with the amendments, because people who are looking to recruit employees will have questions about what happens at the end of their permission. The law will provide for ten-year and long-term permissions, but it is not yet clear what the criteria for those will be and who will be eligible for consideration. Whether there will be further amendments to the law is unclear at this stage. The new Council of Ministers may have new priorities that they wish to introduce.Discrimination law and gender pay gapOne piece of legislation that is now in place after many years of consultation is the discrimination law. This law is now taking effect, although dealing with discrimination is not just about the law. The law needs to be there to underpin change but is never going to solve the issues. It is about education, awareness and changing attitudes. The ultimate goal is an end to discrimination.A paramount aspect of discrimination law is how employers and employees respond to co-workers with disabilities, and the Jersey Employment Trust (JET) contributes to promoting a good environment. Every two years, the JET holds awards and hears from employers and coordinators about what they are doing to support the people in their organisations, how they actively enjoy dealing with JET and the positive impact this has for their organisation. Once employers and employees have the tools and the knowledge, the adjustments can be small. Actually spending time getting to understand co-workers and employees pays huge dividends and gets the best out of them.That said, one of the concerns to emerge over the past few years has been mental health. There has been an increase in referrals long before the covid-19 pandemic, and there is likely to be further increase as a result of the pandemic. Many studies show that this has been a challenging time for both men and women, but women still do tend to take on a larger part of the childcare and home schooling, which may have greater impact on them. The gender pay gap should be highlighted, as well as what an organisation can do to see more women reach senior posts; and not just women. It is not just about gender, but also race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, social class and other protected characteristics.A related factor to look at is the "stay gap". Do women stay in the job longer, or men? What are the issues? Considering these questions offers huge benefits to an organisation and the individuals within it. This is not just a tick box exercise.Comment Working conditions and employment relationships are moving forward in a positive direction. Parental leave provisions are now in place in Jersey, and there has been an increase in flexible working arrangements post-covid-19. Although for some people looking after children during the pandemic has been troublesome, many employees have been able to spend more time with their families, and employers have seen that is possible. Most organisations are now embracing flexibility and more flexible childcare arrangements, and it is working.For further information on this topic please contact Helen Ruelle at Ogier by telephone (+44 1534 514000) or email ([email protected]). The Ogier website can be accessed at www.ogier.com.An earlier version of this article was first published in Connect magazine's Working Lunch feature.