New parents in Jersey will be granted up to 52 weeks off work in up to three blocks over two years, from this summer, if politicians agree.
The Social Security Minister is 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 law.
The law consists of two parts: the first, an extensive set of workplace rights which protect those who have children, including the right to breastfeed at work; and the second, which is the introduction of an equal parental benefit which shares the cost of leave between the employer and the Government.
The law entitles all new parents to 52 weeks of leave, with six weeks to be paid by the employer.
Deputy Judy Martin wants to activate the first part of the family friendly law, which was approved by the Assembly late last year, over the summer so that working parents can start to make use of its new provisions.
The Minister explained during yesterday's States Assembly sitting that the benefit aspect of the family friendly laws has been delayed. She is therefore proposing to bring in the employment law aspect first, along with a temporary subsidy scheme to support smaller businesses with the cost of extra parental leave, until the wider parental benefit regulation is developed.
Pictured: Minister for Social Security Deputy Judy Martin.
Speaking about why she wants to take this staggered approach, Deputy Martin said: “Jersey has lagged behind other countries in its family friendly rights for many years and I am not prepared to allow another delay on my watch.”
Elaborating on the subsidy scheme, Deputy Martin said she was working with the Treasury Minister, Deputy Susie Pinel, to develop this initiative.
Subject to the approval of States Members, therefore, the first part of the law will come into force on 28 June, with a view to the rest following “in late 2020 for implementation in early 2021".
Bringing her speech to a close, the Minister said: “Over 400 babies will be born in Jersey between the end of June and December into that strange, uncertain world. My plan will provide those babies and their parents with just a little more support to help them through this difficult time. I hope Members will support me to achieve this.”
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