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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Guernsey


In Guernsey, the termination of employment contracts is governed by a specific set of regulations. These regulations aim to ensure the fair treatment of employees and provide guidelines for employers within the legal framework.

Lawful Grounds for Dismissal

Employers in Guernsey can legally terminate employment for the following reasons:

  • Capability or Qualifications: An employee may be dismissed if they are unable to perform their job duties effectively due to insufficient skills, qualifications, or health reasons.

  • Conduct: Dismissal on the grounds of conduct is permissible in cases of serious misconduct or repeated breaches of workplace rules.

  • Redundancy: If an employee's position becomes redundant due to economic reasons or business restructuring, dismissal on the grounds of redundancy is lawful.

  • Illegality: If continued employment would violate statutory restrictions or regulations, the employer may terminate the contract.

  • Some Other Substantial Reason (SOSR): This allows for dismissal based on fair reasons that don't fall under other categories, such as personality clashes or a breakdown in trust and confidence.

Notice Requirements

Guernsey has statutory minimum notice periods that both employers and employees must adhere to:

  • Employer's Notice:

    • Employment duration of 1 month to 2 years: Minimum of 1 week's notice.
    • Employment duration of 2 to 5 years: Minimum of 2 weeks' notice.
    • Employment duration of 5+ years: Minimum of 4 weeks' notice.
  • Employee's Notice: Employees are generally required to provide the company with one week's notice, unless otherwise specified in their employment contract.

Severance Pay

There is no legal requirement for employers in Guernsey to provide severance pay upon termination of employment. However, some employers may choose to include severance arrangements within employment contracts.

Additional Considerations

  • Right to a Written Statement of Reasons: Employees who have been employed for at least a year and are dismissed have the right to request a written statement outlining the reasons for their dismissal.
  • Protection Against Unfair Dismissal: Employees in Guernsey are protected against unfair dismissal under specific circumstances.


Guernsey has a strong legal framework to protect individuals from discrimination in various aspects of life. The main law is the Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022, which safeguards individuals based on specific protected characteristics.

Protected Characteristics

The Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of:

  • Disability: A physical or mental impairment that has a substantial, long-term, and adverse effect on a person's ability to perform regular daily activities.
  • Race: This includes color, nationality, ethnic or national origins.
  • Carer Status: An individual who provides care for another person due to their age, disability, or long-term health condition.
  • Sexual Orientation: A person's sexual orientation towards others of the same sex, opposite sex, or both sexes.
  • Religion or Belief: Any religious or philosophical belief.

Redress Mechanisms

Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against have several options for recourse:

  • Internal Grievance Procedures: Many employers have internal procedures for handling discrimination complaints. Employees are encouraged to use these as a first step.
  • Guernsey Employment & Discrimination Tribunal: For unresolved cases, individuals can file a claim with the Guernsey Employment & Discrimination Tribunal. The Tribunal has the authority to order remedies such as compensation, reinstatement, or policy changes within the organization.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Guernsey have a proactive duty to prevent discrimination in the workplace. This includes:

  • Non-Discrimination Policies: Developing and implementing a clear policy outlining a commitment to equal opportunity and prohibiting discrimination.
  • Training: Providing employees with training on anti-discrimination law, recognizing discriminatory behavior, and creating an inclusive workplace culture.
  • Reasonable Adjustments: Employers are expected to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of disabled employees. This may involve modifying work schedules, providing specialized equipment, or adjusting job duties.

In addition to the Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022, the Sex Discrimination (Employment) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2005 specifically prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex, gender reassignment, marital status, pregnancy, and maternity.

Working conditions

In Guernsey, while there isn't a single, codified set of working condition regulations, a framework exists to ensure fair treatment for employees.

Work Hours

Unlike many jurisdictions, Guernsey law doesn't establish a maximum number of working hours per week. However, the Conditions of Employment (Guernsey) Law, 1985 emphasizes the employer's responsibility to provide a safe working environment. This indirectly discourages excessively long work hours that could compromise employee well-being. Working hours are typically outlined within individual employment contracts or written statements of terms. These documents should clearly specify working hours and any potential overtime arrangements.

Rest Periods

Guernsey law doesn't mandate minimum rest periods during the workday or minimum days of annual leave. Rest periods and vacation leave are typically established within employment contracts. It's essential for employees to review these details to understand their entitlements. While not mandated, many Guernsey workplaces follow a culture of short breaks throughout the day, often for lunch and tea.

Ergonomic Requirements

Guernsey's legislation lacks specific regulations regarding ergonomic requirements in the workplace. The Health and Safety at Work (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2012 requires employers to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of employees at work. This could be interpreted as including providing a work environment that minimizes ergonomic risks. Many employers choose to follow best practices for workplace ergonomics, such as providing adjustable workstations and promoting proper lifting techniques.

Health and safety

Guernsey prioritizes worker well-being through a robust framework of health and safety regulations. These regulations establish clear expectations for both employers and employees, fostering a safe and healthy work environment.

Employer Obligations

Guernsey employers hold significant responsibility for ensuring workplace health and safety. Here are some core obligations:

  • Risk Assessment: The Health and Safety at Work (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2012 mandates that employers conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace. This proactive approach aims to minimize the likelihood of accidents and occupational illnesses.
  • Safe Work Practices: Employers must establish and implement safe work practices to control identified risks. This may involve providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), developing safe operating procedures, and offering relevant training to employees.
  • Safe Work Environment: Guernsey law requires employers to furnish a work environment that is, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health. This includes maintaining the workplace in a good state of repair, ensuring proper ventilation and lighting, and providing adequate hygiene facilities.
  • Consultation and Training: Employers must consult with employees on matters relating to health and safety and provide them with adequate training on safe work practices and emergency procedures.

Employee Rights

Guernsey workers enjoy a range of rights when it comes to workplace health and safety:

  • Right to a Safe Workplace: Employees have the fundamental right to work in an environment free from foreseeable risks to their health and safety.
  • Right to Information and Training: Workers have the right to be informed about potential hazards in their workplace and to receive proper training on health and safety protocols.
  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse work they believe to be unsafe or unhealthy, without fear of retribution.

Enforcement Agencies

The Guernsey Health and Safety Executive (Guernsey HSE) serves as the primary agency responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations in the workplace. Their responsibilities include:

  • Conducting workplace inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Investigating complaints of workplace hazards or unsafe work practices.
  • Issuing improvement notices or prohibition notices to employers found to be non-compliant.
  • Prosecuting employers for serious breaches of health and safety regulations.

Continuous Improvement

The Guernsey Health and Safety Executive (Guernsey HSE) also plays a crucial role in raising awareness, providing guidance, and promoting best practices for workplace health and safety. Combined efforts from employers, employees, and enforcement agencies contribute to a safer and healthier working environment in Guernsey.

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