The Social Security Minister, Deputy Judy Martin, has presented a response to the States Assembly following the Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny review of her proposed changes to family friendly employment rights.
The Minister has carefully considered the Scrutiny Panel’s findings and is pleased to confirm that she will be taking actions in line with several of the recommendations.
The Minister’s report sets out what actions she plans to take, which include equalising parental benefits by replacing the existing maternity allowance with a parental allowance that both parents can claim.
Deputy Martin said: “I have committed in the Government Plan to reform social security benefits to give parity for both parents across employment rights and benefits. I will bring the legislation relating to benefits and the collection of additional social security contributions after the Government Plan has been approved.”
The Panel has also recommended more child-friendly facilities for breastfeeding mothers. Deputy Martin said: “I fully support the drive for mothers to have access to suitable places for breastfeeding. This will help employers and employees where facilities cannot be provided in the workplace. I plan to work with the parishes, businesses, parents and the local Breastfeeding Working Group over the summer to look at what facilities are available.”
During the Panel’s review, the Minister acknowledged the main concerns raised by businesses and she amended her proposals for parental leave to reduce the number of blocks and the time period in which parental leave can be taken (to a maximum of 3 blocks of leave over 2 years). These changes will be included in the revised draft of the Law and the Minister will re-lodge her Proposition for States debate in October.
The Minister said: “I am grateful to the Panel for undertaking a thorough review of this draft law. The legislation is intended to encourage gender balance in childcare roles and change in workplace attitudes, supporting the 1,001 Critical Days manifesto and the current CSP commitment to putting children first. I accept that any culture change takes time, but these steps are vital to the process of progressing our employment law.”