Government, Press Release
Following a recommendation from the Island Council on 09 June 2022, on Friday 17 June the Governor signed into law the Employment Ordinance 2022, along with a number of subsidiary Regulations. The provision of these will come into effect from Monday 20 June.
The new legislation is the culmination of over two years work from the island Council and AIG officials, and introduces a number of new safeguards for employees and requirements on employers. It can be found online at www.sainthelena.gov.sh/government/legislation/laws-of-ascension/.
Why are these changes happening?
The Employment Ordinance 2022 replaces the Workman’s Protection Ordinance 1926 and introduces modern, fit-for-purpose employment regulations.
These new rules aim to ensure that employees are treated fairly and consistently by their employer, with new powers to enforce these rules where necessary.
The changes are intended to modernise the regulation of employment, and safeguard employees against bad practice by their employer.
These adaptions are just the first step in an ongoing program of reform to employment regulation in Ascension. Using this as a base to start from, AIG and the Island Council will monitor what is happening within the employment market and will bring in further changes as and when necessary.
What has changed?
New rules are being introduced regarding:
These changes will help to protect employees against poor employer practices, whilst also ensuring employers have the tools at their disposal to effectively and confidently manage their workforce in line with modern workplace expectations.
What can I expect from my employer?
A number of new obligations have been placed on employers, what they must provide their staff and how they must manage their employees.
Employers must have policies in place concerning each of these if they don’t have so already, and must make these policies readily available to their staff.
They must adhere to these policies when dealing with their employees.
If they do not, an employee can challenge decisions taken, and may even be entitled to claim damages against their employer.
What if my employer isn’t adhering to the new rules?
If you are concerned that your employer is not following the new rules, you should first raise this with them directly.
Where possible, try to familiarise yourself with their policies and procedures and get an understanding of your own rights under the new legislation.
If after this you still have concerns, you may want to consider taking further action.
If so, you should consider contacting a Lay Advocate or one of the elected members of the Island Council. Alternatively, you may want to get in touch with the Public Solicitor’s Office in St Helena by email through firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on (00 290) 23008.
Whilst the introduction of this legislation is a significant step in modernising Ascension’s employment law, it is intended as the beginning of an ongoing process of reform.
If members of the public have concerns about how they are being treated by their employer, and think that this may fall outside of the scope of the new legislation, they should consider contacting an elected member of the Island Council. They can then consider whether or not further regulatory intervention might be required.