Family Friendly Amendments to the Employment Law

Further to the changes introduced in September 2018, another set of amendments relating to family-friendly rights have been lodged with the States Assembly. These further amendments will now be the subject of debate by the States. It is anticipated that the amendments will be discussed by the States on 26 March 2019, and if approved will become effective September 2019.

What employers need to know about the proposals:-

• 52 weeks of combined parental leave for all parents, including surrogate parents – this will override existing separate maternity, adoption and parental leave rights;

• Time off work to attend appointments for adoptive and surrogate parents;

• Specific breastfeeding rights, including breaks and workplace facilities; and

• A right to paid leave where pregnant and breastfeeding women are unable to work on health and safety grounds.

Although shared parental leave is well established in the UK, it has seen very few employees opting to use it. It is worth bearing in mind the proposed system in Jersey appears to be more straightforward than the UK which has been criticised for its complex procedure. However, employers will once again need to consider if their policies and procedures are suffice to deal with the enhanced family-friendly rights. A key point for employers to note is that only the mother can take paid time off in the first six weeks of compulsory leave.

The changes with regards to breastfeeding are focused upon the workplace itself, and the employer not being able to make adjustments to remove any identified risks. Most employers will already be conducting a risk assessment once notified that an employee is pregnant, therefore, the new right appears to be an extension of this risk assessment to ensure a pregnant or breastfeeding mother will not suffer financially.

Get in touch