Ask Difference

Policy vs. Legislation — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 22, 2023
A Policy is a set of guidelines or principles set by organizations or governments, while Legislation refers to laws passed by a governing body.
Policy vs. Legislation — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Policy and Legislation

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Key Differences

Both Policy and Legislation play pivotal roles in shaping societal and organizational directives. Policy, generally, refers to a course of action or principles adopted by entities, such as companies or governmental departments, to influence and determine decisions. On the other hand, Legislation denotes the act of crafting and enacting laws by a legislative body.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 22, 2023
A Policy can be seen as more flexible, often changing with shifts in management, societal demands, or other external factors. Legislation, conversely, is more rigid; once a law is in place, it typically requires a deliberate process to amend or repeal.
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Sep 22, 2023
In the business world, a company might have a Policy regarding employee conduct, or a return Policy for products. In contrast, Legislation affects broader swaths of the population and encompasses legal requirements, like regulations about environmental standards or tax codes.
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Sep 22, 2023
It's essential to understand that while all Legislation impacts policies at various levels, not all policies have the weight of law. For instance, an organization's Policy on telecommuting doesn't override Legislation on worker's rights or minimum wage.
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Sep 22, 2023

Comparison Chart

Definition

Set of guidelines or principles.
Laws enacted by a governing body.
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Sep 22, 2023
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Flexibility

Generally more flexible and adaptable.
Rigid, requiring processes to change.
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Scope

Can be specific to organizations or governmental departments.
Affects the larger population and has the force of law.
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Creation

Formed by entities, like companies or governmental departments.
Formulated and passed by legislative bodies.
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Enforcement

Enforced internally or through administrative procedures.
Enforced by the legal system and regulatory agencies.
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Compare with Definitions

Policy

Principles guiding decisions and outcomes.
The school's anti-bullying Policy is strictly enforced.
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Sep 22, 2023

Legislation

Laws or statutes passed by a legislative body.
The Legislation on environmental conservation was recently passed.
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Sep 22, 2023

Policy

A statement of intent or protocol.
The return Policy ensures customer satisfaction.
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Sep 22, 2023

Legislation

A set of rules enacted by a governing authority.
The tax Legislation affects both individuals and businesses.
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Sep 22, 2023

Policy

A guiding protocol within a specific context.
The privacy Policy outlines data handling procedures.
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Sep 22, 2023

Legislation

The body of laws enacted by a legislature.
The new Legislation aims to protect consumer rights.
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Sep 22, 2023

Policy

Policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol.
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Sep 14, 2021

Legislation

Law or statute formalizing policies or principles.
The healthcare Legislation remains a contentious issue.
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Sep 22, 2023

Policy

A course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organization or individual
It is not company policy to dispense with our older workers
The government's controversial economic policies
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Sep 14, 2021

Legislation

Legislation is law which has been promulgated (or "enacted") by a legislature or other governing body or the process of making it. Before an item of legislation becomes law it may be known as a bill, and may be broadly referred to as "legislation", while it remains under consideration to distinguish it from other business.
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Policy

A contract of insurance
They took out a joint policy
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Legislation

Laws, considered collectively
Housing legislation
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Policy

An illegal lottery or numbers game
He swore that he had never played policy in his life
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Sep 14, 2021

Legislation

The act or process of legislating; lawmaking.
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Policy

A plan or course of action, as of a government, political party, or business, intended to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other matters
American foreign policy.
The company's personnel policy.
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Sep 14, 2021

Legislation

A proposed or enacted law or group of laws.
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Policy

A course of action, guiding principle, or procedure considered expedient, prudent, or advantageous
Honesty is the best policy.
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Sep 14, 2021

Legislation

The act of legislating; preparation and enactment of laws.
Pass legislation
There is a lack of legislation about human cloning.
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Policy

Prudence, shrewdness, or sagacity in practical matters
It is never good policy to speak rashly.
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Legislation

Law which has been enacted by legislature or other governing body
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Policy

A written contract or certificate of insurance.
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Sep 14, 2021

Legislation

The act of legislating; preparation and enactment of laws; the laws enacted.
Pythagoras joined legislation to his philosophy.
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

A numbers game.
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Sep 14, 2021

Legislation

Law enacted by a legislative body
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

A principle of behaviour, conduct etc. thought to be desirable or necessary, especially as formally expressed by a government or other authoritative body.
The Communist Party has a policy of returning power to the workers.
It's company policy that all mobile phones are forbidden in meetings.
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Sep 14, 2021

Legislation

The act of making or enacting laws
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

Wise or advantageous conduct; prudence, formerly also with connotations of craftiness.
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Legislation

The act of making or enacting laws.
Legislation is often a lengthy process involving debate and revision.
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Sep 22, 2023

Policy

Specifically, political shrewdness or (formerly) cunning; statecraft.
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Policy

The grounds of a large country house.
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Policy

(obsolete) The art of governance; political science.
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Policy

(obsolete) A state; a polity.
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Policy

(obsolete) A set political system; civil administration.
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Policy

(obsolete) A trick; a stratagem.
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Policy

(obsolete) Motive; object; inducement.
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Policy

(law)
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

A contract of insurance.
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Policy

A document containing or certifying this contract.
Your insurance policy covers fire and theft only.
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

(obsolete) An illegal daily lottery in late nineteenth and early twentieth century USA on numbers drawn from a lottery wheel (no plural)
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

A number pool lottery
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

(transitive) To regulate by laws; to reduce to order.
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Policy

Civil polity.
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Policy

The settled method by which the government and affairs of a nation are, or may be, administered; a system of public or official administration, as designed to promote the external or internal prosperity of a state.
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Policy

The method by which any institution is administered; system of management; course.
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Policy

Management or administration based on temporal or material interest, rather than on principles of equity or honor; hence, worldly wisdom; dexterity of management; cunning; stratagem.
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Policy

Prudence or wisdom in the management of public and private affairs; wisdom; sagacity; wit.
The very policy of a hostess, finding his purse so far above his clothes, did detect him.
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Policy

Motive; object; inducement.
What policy have you to bestow a benefit where it is counted an injury?
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Policy

A ticket or warrant for money in the public funds.
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Policy

The writing or instrument in which a contract of insurance is embodied; an instrument in writing containing the terms and conditions on which one party engages to indemnify another against loss arising from certain hazards, perils, or risks to which his person or property may be exposed. See Insurance.
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Policy

A method of gambling by betting as to what numbers will be drawn in a lottery; as, to play policy.
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Policy

To regulate by laws; to reduce to order.
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

A line of argument rationalizing the course of action of a government;
They debated the policy or impolicy of the proposed legislation
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

A plan of action adopted by an individual or social group;
It was a policy of retribution
A politician keeps changing his policies
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

Written contract or certificate of insurance;
You should have read the small print on your policy
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Sep 14, 2021

Policy

A course of action adopted by an organization.
The company's Policy on remote work is flexible.
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Sep 22, 2023

Policy

A rule or directive maintained by an entity.
The hotel's Policy doesn't allow pets.
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Sep 22, 2023

Common Curiosities

Which has a broader impact, Policy or Legislation?

Legislation usually has a broader societal impact, while Policies may be limited to specific groups or entities.
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Sep 22, 2023

Who creates Legislation?

Legislation is typically crafted and passed by legislative bodies, like Congress.
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Sep 22, 2023

Can a company's Policy go against Legislation?

No, Policies must adhere to existing Legislation and cannot contravene the law.
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Sep 22, 2023

Can organizations have their own Legislation?

No, organizations set Policies. Only governmental bodies enact Legislation.
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Sep 22, 2023

Is a Policy legally binding like Legislation?

No, while Legislation is law, a Policy is a guideline, and not always legally binding.
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Sep 22, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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