Legislation

The Gender Equality Law, 2011 seeks to eliminate discrimination in employment, training and recruitment on the basis of sex, marital status, pregnancy or gender and to promote the payment of equal remuneration to male and female employees who perform work of equal value.

It also aims to protect against discrimination in other areas such as access to goods, services and facilities, as well as discrimination through job advertisements, application forms and interviews.  Issues such as discrimination by professional partnerships, qualifying and vocational training bodies, and employment agencies as well as sexual harassment in the workplace are also addressed within the legislation.

Background

The Gender Equality Law, 2011 is the final product of many years of consideration and work. After the acceptance of the Cayman Islands Policy on Gender Equity and Equality in the Legislative Assembly in 2004, the Government communicated to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that it wished for the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to be extended to the Cayman Islands through the United Kingdom. The FCO responded that the Cayman Islands would need to prepare local enabling legislation before CEDAW would be extended.

In November 2006, the issue of having CEDAW extended to the Cayman Islands was raised in the Legislative Assembly by way of a Parliamentary Question, and legislative research and development began in 2007. The process of drafting legislation that would address gender discrimination issues and uphold the principles of CEDAW took place between September 2008 and November 2009.

In 2009, Cabinet approved the release of a Discussion Draft of the Prevention of Gender Discrimination Bill, 2010 to be released for public consultation during the period of December 2009 - January 2010.

The Gender Equality Bill, 2011 was supported and passed unanimously in the Legislative Assembly on September 14, 2011 and took effect on January 31, 2012.