Minister Seeks Views on Disability Discrimination Law

Tuesday 5 September 11:07

The Minister for Social Security is inviting your comments on her proposal to protect people in Jersey against disability discrimination.

The proposed law will give individuals the right to take a complaint to the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal when they believe they have experienced discrimination in a wide range of areas – in recruitment, employment, education, premises, clubs and associations, voluntary work and the provision of goods and services.
 
Minister for Social Security, Deputy Susie Pinel, said: “Around 14,000 people in Jersey are disabled and two thirds of all households in Jersey are estimated to include at least one person with a functional impairment. With an ageing population, these numbers are expected to increase in the future and so it is important that we put this legislation in place as soon as possible to improve the position for people with disabilities in Jersey.
 
To ensure that we introduce appropriate protection, I welcome comments on the proposed scope of the law. This is quite a technical consultation looking at the detail of the draft Regulations. We would like to hear your views on the issues raised in the consultation paper, for example, how should we define ‘disability’ for this purpose and should any exceptions be made?”
 
The separate Disability Strategy for Jersey – launched by the Chief Minister’s Department in May 2017 - will continue to work proactively to change attitudes and improve disability awareness. One of the main priorities of the Council of Ministers in the latest strategic plan is to optimise economic growth with the intention of helping to create more good jobs and opportunities for Islanders, removing barriers to employment and increasing participation.

Deputy Pinel said: “The most challenging barrier is likely to be the physical features of premises. To ensure that disabled people are not at a disadvantage, many adjustments to premises will be possible at minimal cost, such as wheelchair ramps and hand rails. However, altering premises is likely to be problematic in some cases, perhaps due to the size or location of the premises. The employer or business will have the opportunity to explain why it is not reasonable to make adjustments in the case of their particular premises. The Regulations are expected to come into force on 1 September 2018. We suggest that the requirement to make reasonable adjustments to premises should apply 2 years later - from 1 September 2020 - and we would like to hear people’s views on that time frame.”
 
The consultation documents, including an online survey and large print versions, are available at www.gov.je/consult. People who have any access or communication needs to help them respond are welcome to contact the Department for assistance.
 
Public meetings will be held on 24 October and 30 October at St Pauls Centre which is accessible and has hearing loop facilities. Places can be booked on the Eventbrite website: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/disability-discrimination-law-public-consultation-tickets-37331497514  or by contacting the Department.
 
The deadline for comments is 10 November 2017. The Minister will then consider all of the responses before finalising the draft Regulations and lodging a Proposition for States debate early in 2018. 

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