Guernsey: Guide To Employment Law In Guernsey

Last Updated: 12 February 2016
Article by Richard Sheldon


1.1 Contents of Written Statement

All employees are entitled to a written statement within four weeks of the commencement of their employment setting out their terms and conditions of employment which must include the following information:

Where there is no relevant entitlement to be included within the particulars, the statement shall include that fact e.g. no entitlement to a pension scheme. In addition, the statement may refer the employee to another document which is reasonably accessible which sets out details of any of the required particulars.

Where there is a subsequent change in any of the terms of employment set out above, that information must generally be confirmed in writing not more than four weeks after the change.

1.2 Exclusions

The above provisions do not apply in relation to any period where the employee is engaged to work wholly or mainly outside Guernsey, certain categories of mariners or where the employee and employer are also husband and wife.

1.3 Enforcement and Remedies

Where an employer fails to provide a written statement of terms and conditions, an employee may require a reference to the Employment & Discrimination Tribunal (Tribunal) for a determination over what particulars ought to have been included in a statement. In addition, a failure to comply with the obligation to provide a written statement of terms and conditions is a criminal offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the uniform scale. As at the date of this Guide the current maximum fine is £5,000.


The requirement to have a basic written statement is a fairly straightforward requirement, although it is one some employers do not comply with. What is unusual about Guernsey is that failure to comply with this requirement is backed up with potentially criminal sanctions.


2.1 Contents of Pay Statement

All employees are entitled to a written statement on or before the day they are due to be paid including the following information:

2.2 Enforcement and Remedies

A failure to comply with the obligation to provide a written statement of term and conditions is a criminal offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the uniform scale. As at the date of this Guide the current maximum fine is £5,000.


This requirement is something that any employer with any form of automated payroll system should be compliant with, as the information required is fairly basic.


3.1 Qualification for the Right

Where an employee with at least one year's continuous employment is dismissed by his employer, or where a fixed term contract expires and is not renewed, the employee is entitled upon request to a written statement giving particulars of the reasons for his dismissal or termination.

In cases where the employee was pregnant or on any contractual period of maternity leave, then the employee is entitled to receive a statement, regardless of whether she makes a request or her length of service.

3.2 Exclusions

This right does not apply in cases where the employee ordinarily works outside of Guernsey.

3.3 Enforcement and Remedies

An employee has the right to make a complaint to the Tribunal within three months of the effective date of termination on the grounds that the employer unreasonably failed to provide a written statement or that the particulars of reasons given in purported compliance with this section are inadequate or untrue.

Where the Tribunal upholds a complaint by an employee, in addition to making a finding of what the reason for dismissal was, it shall make an award equal to half a month's pay or two weeks' pay (where the employee was paid weekly).


The entitlement to receive a written statement of reasons for a dismissal, whilst important in theory, should not cause employers too much difficulty, as in any letter of dismissal it is best practice to include a reason.


4.1 Qualification for the Right

All employees are entitled to receive and required to give minimum periods of notice based on the length of service as follows:

4.2 Exclusions

The above provisions do not apply to fixed term contracts of three months or less (unless the employee has been continuously employed for more than three months); the employee is engaged to work wholly or mainly outside Guernsey; certain categories of mariners or in certain cases of insolvency.


Although this is an important right for lower paid employees, in practice, after the end of any probationary period, most employers will generally include notice periods of between one and three months for staff, with more senior staff on anything up to six or 12 months. What is unusual in Guernsey is that the increasing notice periods with service apply equally to employer and employee.

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Richard Sheldon
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