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Businesses 'must prepare for parental leave changes'

Businesses 'must prepare for parental leave changes'

Thursday 21 May 2020

Businesses 'must prepare for parental leave changes'


Businesses need to start prepare for the introduction of extended parental leave, which could come into effect as soon as 28 June 2020, a Jersey lawyer has said.

The Minister for Social Security, Deputy Judy Martin, announced yesterday she is seeking approval for new rights for up to 52 weeks of leave for new parents.

Proposals to extend family friendly rights were adopted in principle last October, and include up to 52 weeks of parental leave - with six weeks to paid by the employer - along with new requirements for all employers to take reasonable steps to provide breastfeeding facilities and a new workplace right to breastfeed.

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Pictured: Deputy Judy Martin is “not prepared to allow another delay” to the long-awaited law.

Deputy Martin said she would be asking the States Assembly to bring in half of the family friendly legislation over the summer whilst work is still ongoing on the second part, saying she is “not prepared to allow another delay” to the long-awaited law.

The second part of the law involves the introduction of an equal parental benefit which shares the cost of leave between the employer and the Government. This should follow in late 2020 for implementation in early 2021.

Although an interim subsidy scheme will see the Government support employers with some of the costs until early next year, employment law specialist Advocate Daniel Read of Walkers says that work on updating handbooks and policies, and planning for the changes, needs to start immediately.

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Pictured: Advocate Daniel Read is an employment law specialist.

"Although the timing of the announcement may have taken some employers by surprise, the general thrust of the legislation was agreed last year and has been anticipated by most Jersey employers," Mr Read said. 

"The changes will require some adjustments to handbooks and policies to make sure that they reflect the new legislation – there will also be requirements for businesses to start planning for how they will accommodate the right to 52 weeks of leave, and the requirement to pay for six weeks of that leave. 

"Where employers have not yet taken account of the changes and begun planning for how they will accommodate the new workplace rights, they should begin to do so without delay."

The final debate is due on 16 June 2020.

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Posted by nigel pearce on
If the new parent decides after 52 weeks not to return to work, will they have to refund the two or six weeks paid leave? What is the situation where an employer has to employ a replacement worker for the duration of the parental leave? Will they be allowed to lay them off without financial penalties?
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