Workers won’t be able to make unfair dismissal claims against their new employers until they have done at least a year in the job, under a change that takes effect from 1 January.
The move had been pushed for by business lobby groups, and had been a plank of Chief Minister Ian Gorst’s re-election manifesto, and doubles the existing qualifying period of six months. But the change won’t affect anyone who has started a job recently – it only covers those who start a new job in the New Year.
Senator Gorst said that the Council of Ministers had endorsed the move to remove one of the perceived barriers to employing staff.
He said: “During the elections, I pledged to support local businesses and I have made it clear that one of my priorities as Chief Minister is to promote growth and create employment opportunities.
“We need to boost growth, and to do that we need to get more people into work.
“This amendment will help us achieve that priority.”
The new rule means that Jersey will have the same qualifying period as Guernsey, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man – and a period half as long as the UK, where you have to work for two years before you can claim for unfair dismissal.
There are some exceptions to the rule – you can take an unfair dismissal claim to the Employment Tribunal from your first day on the job, if you have been dismissed for asserting a statutory right, if you are dismissed as a prohibited act of race discrimination, or if you are dismissed for union activity or representing someone at a disciplinary hearing.
Social Security Minister Susie Pinel said that she was confident that bosses would take on more staff given the security of an extra six months to see if they were right for the job.
She said: “I am confident that a one year qualifying period will encourage employers to take on more staff and will make a real difference to locally-based small businesses.
“The additional six months to assess whether a person is right for the job should increase the number of employers who are willing to give a local jobseeker a chance through one of our Back to Work initiatives.
“I also believe that this change has the potential to motivate employers to offer more permanent terms and conditions of employment to employees, rather than entering into casual staffing arrangements.”
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