Following consultation last year, the Minister for Social Security has pressed ahead with draft legislative proposals to introduce new ‘family friendly’ regulations under Jersey’s Employment Law. The draft Regulations to amend the Employment Law will be debated by the States Assembly at the States sitting of 20 March 2018 and, if approved, are intended to come into force on 1 September 2018.
The proposals that would come in to force on 1 September 2018 are as follows:
• Increase maternity, adoption and parental leave to 26 weeks
• Increase paid maternity leave from 2 weeks to 6 weeks
• Introduce 2 weeks of paid parental leave
• Introduce 6 weeks of paid adoption leave
• Introduce time off for antenatal appointments for the father/partner
• Extend the right to request flexible working to all employees
It is intended that further changes will come in to effect a year later, in September 2019, since they are more complex and will require further legislation to be enacted. It is intended that these further changes will be as follows:
• Provide 52 weeks of parental leave (combining maternity, adoption and parental leave) for all parents
• Provide equivalent leave for the intended parents in a surrogacy situation
• Introduce time off for appointments for adoptive and intended parents
• Introduce breastfeeding rights (breaks and workplace facilities)
• Introduce a right to paid absence on health and safety grounds
The Minister’s proposals are based on a recommendation from the Employment Forum following public consultation last year.
If accepted by the States of Jersey these changes are likely to have a significant impact on many employers, not least in regard to the need to ensure that appropriate staffing cover is in place to cover the periods of leave which the proposed new legislation will provide a right to.