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Bedell Cristin Coffee Break - Jersey's new statutory rest periods – Did you know?

22 November 2021

From 1 January 2022, Jersey employers will be required to provide a minimum of 3 weeks paid annual leave and a 20 minute daily rest break for all their employees who work 6 hours or more in any one day.

Surprisingly, the additional week's paid annual leave has not been the main concern for employers as the overwhelming majority of Jersey employers already provide their employees with entitlements in excess of this. The more problematic entitlement has been the 20-minute rest break and more relevantly, the lack of clarity over what that entitlement actually means.  So we have broken the entitlement down.

Did you know?

All Jersey employees are entitled to a 20 minute rest break for each continuous 6 hour period they work

  • The break must be offered for each 6 hour period worked
  • The 6 hour working period must be continuous.
  • The entitlement is to be offered the rest break, it is not an obligation on the part of the employer to ensure that the employee actually takes the rest break.

The 20 minute rest break must be continuous

  • The employee must be provided with a continuous 20 minute rest-break and not, for example, two 10 minute breaks.
  • If a rest break is interrupted such that the employee does not take a continuous 20 minute rest break, then such break must be provided at a later time during the shift         

The rest break can be taken at any point during the 6 hour 'working period'

  • The rest break can be taken at the beginning, in the middle or the end of any working period.
  • There is no requirement that the employee must actually be on site for the break – i.e. it could be provided at the end of a 6 hour working period.
  • This flexibility is a welcomed deviation from other jurisdictions which mandate rest periods.

An employee who works a 12 hour shift is entitled to a 40 minute rest break

  • This can be a 40 minute continuous break in the middle of the shift (i.e. such that it attaches to the end of one shift and the beginning of the other) or two 20 minute breaks.

The 20 minute rest break can be paid or unpaid

  • The employer must provide details of the treatment of the break in the terms and conditions of employment.
  • Although the Employment Forum expressed the view that there is a general expectation that the break will be paid, an employer has the right to decide whether or not the break is paid.

Any lunch break can be off-set to satisfy the statutory 20 minute rest break

  • For an employee who works a 10 hour shift, if an employer already offers an hour unpaid lunch break, they do not need to adjust their working practises or contractual entitlements.

What do employers need to do now?

Review your working practices, contracts, policies and procedures and identify those provisions that deal with annual leave, working hours and rest breaks. 

You may need to update handbooks, policies and procedures. If these documents are non-contractual, they can be updated and circulated to staff for their information.

You may need to change rostering arrangements or the way in which your staff are allocated breaks.

It may be necessary to amend contractual documentation. This can be done by way of letter to the affected employers seeking their consent to the changes necessary to accord with their improved statutory entitlements.

For further details, please get in touch with a member of the Bedell Cristin employment team.

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Location: Jersey

Related Service: Employment Law