Guernsey is a British Crown Dependency and the second largest of the Channel Islands, with a population of around 63,000. Just 14 miles off the coast of France, this beautiful island is rich in historical significance and draped in folklore.

With dramatic coastlines created by one of the world’s largest tidal ranges, excellent travel connections and a thriving economy, Guernsey’s residents enjoy an outstanding quality of life. Not only is Guernsey a stunning place to call home, but it also offers many incentives and opportunities for businesses.

So, what do you need to know as an employer looking to hire in Guernsey?

An overview of life in Guernsey

Shaped by connections to both Britain and France, Guernsey offers a relaxed pace of life.

Guernsey is renowned for championing an enviable work-life balance, with well-being and community an integral part of corporate life on the island. Its vibrant social scene and short commute times have curated a cosmopolitan lifestyle without the hustle and bustle of a city, making it a popular destination for those wishing to embrace island life without losing touch with the corporate world.

In terms of business, Guernsey is widely recognised and respected as a global centre of excellence for its financial sector, including banking, fund management and insurance. Over 500 financial services firms have offices in Guernsey, and the island’s diverse finance sector provides plenty of career progression and professional development opportunities.

The region’s economic background is agriculture and farming, which are still at the core of Guernsey’s economy today. However, Guernsey’s economy is evolving, and the island is increasingly becoming a popular tourist spot whilst drawing in new businesses and investors. Additionally, the island is home to more than 1,000 people working in creative industries.

Guernsey is an English-speaking territory and shares time zones and much of the same culture with the UK, enabling an easy lifestyle transition for workers moving between the island and the mainland. What’s more, Guernsey’s airports offer daily affordable transfers to London and other major cities in the UK, making it even easier to balance working between the two.

A summary of employment in Guernsey

As a Crown Dependency, Guernsey is governed by laws defined by the States of Guernsey.

Like other independent jurisdictions such as Jersey and the Isle of Man, Guernsey has a basic rate of corporation tax of 0% for most companies that are Guernsey tax residents. The island doesn’t operate VAT, goods and services tax (GST), net wealth or inheritance tax, providing a compelling opportunity for employees and international businesses.

However, as a self-governing, self-funded nation, there are various independent employment laws that businesses should be aware of before hiring workers here.

Working hours

Guernsey tends to follow UK workplace health and safety best practices. For adults over 18 years old, the minimum wage is £9.05.

Despite no law that states a maximum number of working hours or minimum length of rest breaks, many employers include overtime rates or time off in lieu (TOIL) in their employment contracts. All employees require an up-to-date ‘Right to Work’ document issued by the Guernsey Housing Department to confirm they’re lawfully permitted to work.

Paid leave

There’s no statutory entitlement to paid leave in Guernsey, but in practice, most employers include some provision for accrued annual leave in employment contracts. Guernsey observes 11 public holidays every year, including Liberation Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the end of Nazi occupation during World War II.

A pregnant employee has the right to 12 weeks of basic maternity leave, provided they notify their employer at least three months before their due date. The pregnant employee’s partner is also typically entitled to two weeks of maternity support leave.

Companies have no statutory obligation to provide paid maternity leave. Still, the law requires companies operating in Guernsey to outline all terms and conditions of employment — including maternity leave — in a written statement within four weeks of an employee starting work.

Employers in Guernsey also have no obligation to provide sickness pay, although it’s generally offered. Workers can claim statutory sickness benefits from the States of Guernsey Employment and Social Security Department. They may also be entitled to receive incapacity benefits after a sickness leave of more than 26 weeks.

Other employer costs

Employers in Guernsey pay social security at a rate of 6.7% of their gross earnings up to a monthly limit of £13,117 per employee.

It’s also common for employers to offset the cost of food and accommodation in Guernsey. The maximum offset for accommodation only is £78.00 per week; for food and accommodation, it’s £109.00 per week.

There’s no specific pension legislation on the island, but a secondary pension scheme is due to be introduced between 1 January 2023 and 1 April 2024, requiring employers to make income-based contributions.

How we can support your Guernsey expansion

Renowned for its high standards for financial regulation, it’s crucial for any business operating in Guernsey to ensure compliance with local employment laws and payroll guidelines — especially concerning remote workers.

Setting up a business entity in Guernsey can be complex, as every Guernsey company must have articles of incorporation from a corporate service provider (CSP). As a result, many global businesses outsource their payroll and employment needs to an employer of record (EOR) like TopSource Worldwide.

An EOR allows businesses to have the best of both worlds, managing the admin of payroll, tax deductions and HR for your international workforce. Built on a foundation of extensive experience operating on a multi-territory, multi-jurisdictional level, we guarantee compliance with ever-changing employment law and ensure all your workers are paid on time via one invoice in your chosen currency.

Thinking of employing in Guernsey? Our global EOR services can help facilitate a seamless transition and minimise the stress of managing an international workforce. Contact us today to start your expansion journey!

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Published On: 19/07/22Last Updated: 13/09/22

About the Author: Sam Barnes

Sam is our Global Business Development Manager for Employer of Record services. For the last 10 years, he has assisted companies in the successful execution of their international expansion plans. Sam tells us “There’s something inherently exciting about growing a business into overseas jurisdictions. Each country does things slightly differently and it’s great to be able to share learnings on statutory requirements and cultural nuances”. Email: sam.barnes@topsourceworldwide.com

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