What Is the Difference Between Policy and Legislation?

Meaning of policy

Policies are documented steps necessary for an organization, individuals, or group of individuals to ensure that the organization’s overall goals are being achieved. Many times policies may involve certain sets of decisions to ensure solving a long-term purpose for any particular problem.

Policies simply outline what needs to be done, who is to do certain tasks, how its needs to be done. For example, a family may have a policy of not watching the TV until their kids complete the homework.

Examples of policies by companies

Amazon Inc. has product return policies for its customers, and companies have policies for sick leaves and pregnancy of women, schools have a policy for school dress code, etc.

 Reasons for making policies

● To ensure that organizations achieve their desired goals in a timely manner.

● To ensure that people are treated justified and no discrimination is being made among them based upon their color, caste, culture, or race.

Levels of Policy Implementation

● Personal level:  personal policies are the rules or standards which guide individual actions and decisions. At the individual level, personal policies are difficult to be implemented.

A student may have a personal policy of completing homework and then watching TV but many times it’s not possible due to environmental factors wherein every family member is engaged in watching TV. A person may have a personal policy of eating organic food only, however, if he is present at a party where organic food is not available, the personal policy may be affected.

● Organizational level: These policies may involve the process, guidelines, and standards through which the business will be operated. For example, a company may have a policy of providing a 5% Commission to the salesman based upon the total value of sales. Another company may have a policy of 2 days’ work from home in a week.

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Steps in the policy cycle

The ‘Australian Policy Handbook by Peter Bridgman’ had defined 8 steps in the policy cycle: 

● Firstly, the issue on which policy needed to be made is identified.

● Analysis of subject matter is being done And a raw structure is being prepared

● Consultation with experts over the subject matter is being done.

● Different instruments for policy are being developed.

● Ensuring appropriate coordination among the policy-making team members.

● Designing the program and finally deciding the policy for the organization

● Ensure appropriate policy implementation

● Ensuring policy evaluation and feedback that policy is implemented effectively.

Meaning of Legislation

Legislation has been created from two words ‘legis and ‘letim’ which means making the law.

The legislation means regulations, rules, and laws made by the government. These are standard principles and procedures followed by society to ensure that justice is being implemented.

There may be different kinds of legislation such as civil laws, international laws, criminal laws, business laws, etc. Members of the Parliament who propose legislation are known as legislators. The legislative body takes the action and active participation in the implementation of legislation.

The process of making law is also known as legislation. This process may involve starting with the basic problem or Idea on which law is to be made. Once that Idea is drafted on a piece of paper, it is known as Bill. After it, the legislative branch receives the bill for its approval or rejection.

Once this is approved the role of the regulatory branch comes into place which writes down the details about the bill and ensures that it’s implemented. In this way, it becomes the law and this process is known as the legislation making process.

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Requirement of Legislation

● When there is a need for creating or modifying the rights and obligations of people in a country or state

● When the subject matter is of high importance, it will have a very long-term impact on the overall country or state.

Types of legislation

There are two types of legislation:

Supreme legislation:  When sovereign itself Lays down the law. In this situation, the Supreme authority or state creates the law.

Subordinate legislation: when the Supreme authority gives authorization to any subordinate authority to make law, such law-making process is known as subordinate legislation.

Difference between legislation and policy 

 Sr. No. Basis of DifferencePolicyLegislation
1Legal ExistencePolicies may or may not have a legal existence. If any specific company lays down some policies, then other companies don’t have to be bound by it. However, if the policies are laid down under any rule of legislation, they have a legal existence.The legislation has legal existence in the eyes of the law of the land.
 2AuthorityIts existence depends upon the authority provided by the company or any other organization.Its existence depends upon the authority provided by the country or state.
 3Relationship Policies provide the relationship between its company and its employees.The legislation provides the basis for the relationship between the people and the state.
4NaturePolicies are comprehensive but specific. Legislations are very comprehensive and general.
5AimThe policy aims to define specific standard courses of action.The legislation aims to make laws.


The legislations are foundations laid down by the state for solving some issue. The execution steps and course of action are written in the policy statement. The policy contains do’s and don’ts while ensuring that legislation is being followed. 

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