18 December 2017
The Employment Forum has recommended a number of improvements to the family friendly rights that are provided in the Employment Law. Most significantly, the Forum has recommended increasing the periods of maternity and parental leave that are available to parents. If the Forum’s recommendations are accepted, new mothers as well as fathers and partners, would be entitled to take 26 weeks’ leave from September 2018, including 6 weeks of paid maternity leave. The Forum has recommended that leave should be further extended in September 2019 so that both parents are entitled to take 52 weeks of parental leave within a 3 year period, including 6 weeks of paid parental leave each.
Helen Ruelle, Chair of the Employment Forum, said: “We have recommended extending the employment rights to improve the position for parents in the workplace, to give families more choice and flexibility, and hopefully to encourage gender balance in childcare roles. We believe that our recommendations would provide a more inclusive and progressive approach to family related rights in the workplace, whilst recognising the potential impact on businesses in Jersey. This will be a significant change for some employers. However, it is important that progress is made to 52 weeks’ leave as quickly as possible, which we have recommended in two stages so that employers have time to prepare.
The Forum consulted earlier this year and we received over 300 responses from parents, employers and other stakeholders. The recommendation that we have presented is very detailed because we had to make sure that we had addressed all of the issues that the Minister directed us to look at. We also had to ensure that we set out a balanced representation of the responses in our report. We were very impressed with the quality of the responses to this consultation - including the personal experiences that many have provided - both in writing and at the stakeholder meetings. I understand that the Minister intends to consider our recommendation over the coming weeks.”
The Minister for Social Security directed the Forum to consider a number of possible changes to the current law. The Forum’s other recommendations for family friendly changes to the Employment Law include:
- from September 2019, maternity leave, adoption leave and parental leave would be combined to provide a more inclusive and straightforward system so that new parents are simply entitled to 52 weeks of parental leave each
- time off to attend antenatal appointments for fathers and partners
- time off to attend adoption appointments for adoptive parents
- time off for the intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement to attend antenatal appointments with the birth mother
- the right to request flexible working for all employees, not just those with caring responsibilities
- the right for breastfeeding employees to request reasonable breaks and employers must take reasonable steps to provide facilities for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace
- the right to be paid during a period of absence where a risk assessment prevents a pregnant or breastfeeding woman from undertaking her normal job and the employer cannot provide her with other duties
The table below provides a summary of the recommendations. Either the Forum’s Chair (Helen Ruelle) or Deputy Chair (Malcolm Ferey) will be available for interview. To arrange an interview, contact Kate Morel, Forum Secretary, email: E.Forum@gov.je, Tel. +44 (0) 1534 447203.
|Maternity leave||18 weeks with 2 weeks compulsory leave paid at 100% and either 6 weeks unpaid with no qualifying period or 16 weeks unpaid with a 15 month qualifying period.||26 weeks of leave including 6 weeks paid at 100% of pay by the employer with no qualifying period.||52 weeks parental leave, available for both parents. Including 6 weeks paid at 100% of pay by the employer.|
Can be taken in up to 4 blocks of leave.
Also available to adoptive and intended parents.
|Perental leave||2 weeks unpaid leave, no qualifying period.||2 weeks paid at 100% of pay by the employer and 24 weeks unpaid with no qualifying period. Can be taken in up to 3 blocks of leave.|
|Leave - adoption and surrogacy|
Same as maternity and parental leave for adoptive parents but no rights for the intended parents in a surrogacy situation.
|Paid and unpaid leave equivalent to maternity leave and parental leave. The elected adopter or main intended parent takes the paid leave.|
|Ante-natal -father / partner||None, birth mother only.||Unlimited unpaid antenatal appointments with up to 10 hours paid.||No further change.|
|Antenatal - surrogate parents||None, birth mother only.||Intended parent 1 - unlimited paid appointments. Intended parent 2 - unlimited unpaid appointments with up to 10 hours paid||No further change.|
|Adoption appointments||None.||Adoptive parent 1 - unlimited paid appointments. Adoptive parent 2 - unlimited unpaid appointments with up to 10 hours paid.||No further change.|
|Flexible working||Right to request for employees with caring responsibilities, subject to 15 month qualifying period.||Right to request for all employees with no qualifying period.||No further change.|
|Breast-feeding||None||Right to request reasonable breaks and employers must take reasonable steps to provide facilities in the workplace.||No further change.|
|Paid absence on health and safety grounds||None||Right to paid absence where risk assessment prevents a pregnant or breastfeeding employee from carrying out her normal job and she cannot be allocated to other duties.||No further change.|