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Employers advised to review their parental leave policies in light of legislative changes

11 June 2020

Coronavirus has placed employers under significant stress in the past few months and has forced a major rethink on working practices. In the midst of this, there is an important legislative change on the horizon: family friendly legislation.

The Bedell Cristin employment team has advised a range of employers on the Amendment, including one of the largest Jersey businesses, on the upcoming changes.

Amendment No. 11 (the "Amendment") to the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 (the "Law") has been approved by the States Chamber and is scheduled to come into effect during the summer. The Amendment intends to make raising a family as equal as possible for parents, whilst placing a number of new obligations on employers.

From mid-2020, the Amendment will provide employees with a range of new rights, including a gender-neutral parental leave, totalling 52 weeks off work, which may be spread out over two years in up to three blocks. Other developments include breastfeeding breaks and an entitlement to paid time off where an expectant employee cannot safely carry out their role or be placed in a suitable alternative role. The Amendment also recognises the evolving nature of family units, and extends these rights to birth parents, adoptive parents and surrogate parents.

Employers are strongly advised to review employment contracts, handbooks and any relevant policies. Where necessary, these must be amended in line with the new legislation. A number of new policies on a number of topics may be required, such as parental leave or breastfeeding. In addition, the Amendment will require employers to review the adequacy of their premises, in light of new breastfeeding rights. Employers are reminded that these changes are vast and will require mid to long term planning.

Bedell Cristin has produced a briefing: Family friendly rights in Jersey: employer duties, highlighting the changes to the Law and detailing what employers must do as a result.

For all your employment needs, please contact the Bedell Cristin employment team.

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Location: Jersey

Related Service: Employment Law