Employment Forum - Recommendation on Family Friendly Employment Rights

Monday 18 December 11:17

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.

Read the Forum's recommendation HERE.

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 Forum’s recommendation is also available online at www.gov.je/employmentforum and by emailing the Forum Secretary E.Forum@gov.je or telephoning 447203. 
 

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