Minimum leave and break times increased in Jersey

From 1 January 2022, uninterrupted rest breaks of at least 20 minutes in every six-hour period will be a legal entitlement to Jersey workers. Annual leave entitlement will also be increasing to three weeks. After a public consultation on rest breaks and annual leave, the Jersey Employment Forum presented their recommendations to the States of Jersey.

As Tammy Fage mentioned during our breakfast briefing, regular rest breaks are just as  important as annual leave for our health and wellbeing. Currently, there is no statutory requirement for rest breaks in the Island’s Employment Law, and it’s at businesses’ discretion to offer them.

With most businesses offering a lunch break for full-time employees, the rest breaks will likely not cause issues. However, this change does provide support for those who work part-time, split shifts, or long shifts.

Many employees may have agreed to work six hours a day as it works for them with responsibilities they may have outside of work, though, so what happens then? The law doesn’t specify when employees can take their breaks or if the break should be paid, so it’ll be down to employers and their employees to agree on what will work for them.

Split shift workers will not be entitled to a 20-minute break if they don’t work for six continuous hours during either shift. However, if each shift is six hours, employers should introduce a rest break. You should also consider those who may work 12-hour shifts with this amendment. If these workers don’t already get a 40-minute break, you’ll need to review your terms to ensure these breaks occur.

Don’t forget, uninterrupted means precisely that. If your employee is interrupted during their break to do a few minutes of work, you must rest the clock.

In addition to rest breaks, the States of Jersey also approved an increase in annual leave days per year. Currently, all employees are entitled to two weeks of paid annual leave each year. As we know, many employers on the Island provide above the statutory allowance, but others may not.

For employers that offer the statutory two weeks, you’ll need to undertake changes to contractual entitlements. This update can be as simple as a letter to sit alongside employment contracts for existing employees and a tweak to employment documentation for new and yet-to-be-found employees.

However, please remember that there are other factors to consider:

  • If you work a six-day week, the minimum holiday entitlement is now 18 days instead of the previous 12 days. This increase could mean you end up with more clashes of holiday requests during the year. It may be worth considering sharing guidelines with your team, so there isn’t any disappointment later down the line.
  • More holidays mean more people who won’t be at work. So it’s essential to know if you’ll need additional employees to cover those on leave. For example, suppose you employ 50 or more people. In that case, the increase in statutory leave means you will effectively be one person down all year round. You should consider the impact this will have on your team and if you would benefit from an additional resource.
  • You’ll need to revisit the allowance paid to those who receive their holidays as rolled up. You’ll also need to ensure your rolled-up allowance covers the entire three weeks and that your employees can take the additional week off too.

Clients on our advisory service will receive a more in-depth update on this amendment, but please get in touch with us if you would like to talk through these changes.

[tmm name=”heidi-gibaut”]

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