Jersey businesses are being advised to update their company policies ahead of new 'family friendly' legislation, which includes extended leave for new parents, and comes into force this weekend.
Employment specialists Law At Work (LAW) say there are a number of new obligations businesses may not be aware of, but need to include in their employment documents.
Aside from the extra leave entitlements- which include 6 weeks paid leave and up to 46 weeks unpaid leave (total of 52) for both parents, time off for appointments and breastfeeding rights - all current contractual terms such as holiday and sick pay will continue to apply to employees and their partners who have given birth, adopted or become surrogate parents.
Additional family-friendly rights for employees were approved by the States Assembly last year and despite calls to delay their introduction to September because of the Covid-19 crisis, politicians agreed they should become law this month.
Lorna Pestana, Director of Law At Work, commented: “Although there has been a long lead up to this, the main priority for most businesses in the last three months has been their response to the coronavirus pandemic. While their focus may have been elsewhere, they will now be expected to answer the questions their employees will ask and may not have had time to think in detail about what changes are needed, including their enhanced leave entitlements and the logistics over accommodating those who wish to take the enhanced periods of leave and return to work afterwards.
“It is really important that they update their policies and plans and be in a position where they can have a conversation with staff members about the obligations they have under the new legislation.”
The requirements do not only impact HR policies but also the organisations’ Health and Safety responsibilities as among the new measures is the requirement to include specific workplace risk assessments for each member of staff who informs their employer they are pregnant. Businesses may also have to carry out a display screen equipment (DSE) assessment.
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