Family Friendly Employment Rights - Proposed New Regulations

Tuesday 6 February 00:02

Family Friendly Employment Rights Proposed to be Extended This Year

The Minister for Social Security will lodge, tomorrow, (6 February) draft Regulations that would introduce the following improvements to family friendly employment rights from 1 September 2018 -

  1. Increase maternity, adoption and parental leave to 26 weeks
  2. Increase paid maternity leave from 2 weeks to 6 weeks
  3. Introduce 2 weeks of paid parental leave
  4. Introduce 6 weeks of paid adoption leave
  5. Introduce time off for antenatal appointments for the father/partner
  6. Extend the right to request flexible working to all employees

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, will come into force on 1 September 2018.

The Minister’s proposals are based on a unanimous recommendation from the Employment Forum following public consultation last year. The themes of these proposals were reflected strongly in the consultation responses received. The Forum is an independent body – which includes representatives of employers and of employees - that consults and makes recommendations on employment legislation.

Minister for Social Security, Deputy Susie Pinel, said: “I have accepted all of the Forum’s recommendations for changes to the Employment Law which are intended to improve the position for parents in the workplace, give families more choice and flexibility, and to encourage gender balance in childcare roles.

I directed the Forum to undertake this review to maintain a previous commitment that I had given to the States. I am satisfied that the Forum has taken a balanced view of all of the evidence and I believe that the overall package represents a much needed step forwards. I am sure that some employers will be concerned about the impact of the additional periods of leave, but I believe that the recommendation is balanced in view of the cost to business. This is bold move, which will be a significant change for some businesses, but the time has come to increase employment rights for parents. I propose to do this in two stages to give employers a bit more time to prepare.”

The Forum recommended a two-staged approach with changes to the Law planned for September 2018 and September 2019. In order to implement most of these improvements as soon as possible, the Minister has lodged draft Regulations that will amend the existing family friendly legislation. The remaining changes are more complex and will require new legislation, which is planned to come into force in September 2019.

JACS will help employers and employees to prepare for the changes, with guidance on the website, advice on changing policies and procedures, template application forms, public and private training sessions and the JACS outreach service will continue to support small businesses.

The draft Regulations maintain two of the key priorities of the States; to support children and families from conception through the critical pre-school years, as outlined in the 1,001 Days Initiative, and to optimise economic growth by enabling increased participation rates, retention of appropriate skills in the workforce and removing barriers to work.

Deputy Pinel, said: “These changes have advantages, both for the economy and for the family unit. I hope that, over time, we will start to see more fathers taking parental leave and that this will bring a change in workplace attitudes and practices, potentially reducing discrimination against women in employment and recruitment.”

States of Jersey Press Release.

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