New family friendly law in Jersey

Amendments to employment legislation to be introduced in Jersey on 1 April 2015.


With effect from 1 April 2015 (subject to States approval on 24 February), amendments described as minor changes to the current employment law may come into force. In LAW’s view these amendments are not minor and will affect every employer on the island who requires their employees to be ‘on call’ or undertake ‘standby duties’.

If the amendment is passed, employers will only have 5 weeks to ensure their working arrangements are reviewed in accordance with the amendment and carry out any potential consultation for any changes that are required in their current working practices.

Key area to note is as follows:

Definition of rest periods. During a rest period, the employee must not be required to be available for the purpose of undertaking a work related action or to attend the workplace or be at or near the workplace.

So, if you run an ‘on call’ rota or provide standby, give us a call to talk through the potential issues.

Some other changes which may come into force on 01 April 2015, include:

  • Changes to the employee’s notice period; and
  • That certain articles within the law may be changed by regulation, rather than by States debate. The main change that we could see is the reduction or removal of certain exemptions such as the requirement to have to work more than 8 hours per week before unfair dismissal rights apply.

Family Friendly, Maternity and Paternity legislation to be introduced in Jersey on 1 September 2015.

Any change to the law giving new rights to employees will create a workload or potential liability to employers, and the elements being brought in in September 2015 are no different. Employers are required to respond to employees’ requests, often within set timescales, and to ensure that employees are able to benefit from their new rights. Employees, who do not feel that their requests are met, may complain to the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal, who are able to award penalties of up to 4 weeks pay for up to 28 possible contraventions of the Law.

There are 8 new primary “family friendly” elements to the employment law.

1. The right to request changes to terms and conditions of employment in order to care for another person

This new right will enable an employee with more than 15 months service who has responsibilities to care for another person, which will include children, parents requiring care, dependent adults, etc, the right to request a change to their hours, time or place of work. The employer must genuinely consider the request, meet the employee to discuss the request and can only refuse the request for one of a number of specified reasons, for example, the burden of additional costs, difficulty in meeting customer demand, a detrimental effect on quality of work, etc.

2. The right to paid ante-natal care
This new right will enable an employee to attend prearranged ante-natal appointments, where they fall during normal working hours, without loss of pay.

3. The right to compulsory paid maternity leave
An employee will have the right to two weeks paid maternity leave, which will include the receipt of all other employee benefits.

4. The right to unpaid maternity leave
All employees will have the right of between 6 and 16 weeks (dependent on length of service) unpaid maternity leave. While this is unpaid in salary terms, all other benefits of employment have to be maintained, including accrued holiday entitlement and staff benefits.

5. Right to return to the same job
All employees will have the right to return to their role on the same terms and conditions as would have applied if the employee had not been absent on maternity leave.

6. The right to take adoption leave
An employee adopting a child will have the right to between 8 and 18 (dependent on service) weeks unpaid adoption leave. During the adoption leave, all benefits of employment other than remuneration will be maintained.

7. The right to take parental leave
Employees will have the right to 2 weeks unpaid parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a child.

8. The right not to be unfairly dismissed in connection with any of the new rights
An employee must not be dismissed for asserting any of the new rights. As there is no qualifying period in relation to these new rights, employees receive protection against dismissal from their first day of employment.

In total there are 28 potential areas where an employee can make a complaint to the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal. For each of these areas, the Tribunal can award up to 4 weeks pay and a reimbursement of any payments that would have normally been due. In addition, an employee found to be unfairly dismissed due to pregnancy, maternity, adoption or parental leave would also be eligible for up to 6 months salary (depending on length of service).

What steps should employers take?
The first step is to have the correct policies and procedures in place, documented, and communicated to all managers and staff.

Managers should be trained to respond to the various and increasing requirements of the Employment Law.

Any request for any of these rights must be treated in a timely manner. Meetings must be recorded and the evidence to support any decisions made must be robust, recorded and retained. There is always the risk that the employer might have to defend their decisions to an enquiring Tribunal.

How can LAW AT WORK help?

  • Training of Managers.
  • Review of contractual statements and the handbook to ensure they are consistent with the new rights.
  • Creation of policies to assist in clarifying and implementing the above rights.
  • Advice to employers when requests are received from employees.
  • Assistance with the documents required when and if a request is received.

For more information, please call us on 01534 887088 or email

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