Businesses need to prepare for the introduction of new rights for up to 52 weeks of leave for new parents, likely to come into effect from 28 June 2020 following the Minister for Social Security's announcement today that it is seeking approval for these changes.

The final debate is due on 16 June 2020.

The changes to Jersey's Employment Law to extend family friendly rights was agreed in principle last October, and include up to 52 weeks of parental leave (with six weeks to be paid by the employer) along with new requirements for all employers to take reasonable steps to provide breastfeeding facilities and a new workplace right to breastfeed. Although an interim subsidy scheme will see the States support employers with some of the costs until early next year, employment law specialist Advocate Daniel Read of Walkers' employment law team says that work on updating handbooks and policies, and planning for the changes, needs to start immediately.

"Although the timing of the announcement may have taken some employers by surprise, the general thrust of the legislation was agreed last year and has been anticipated by most Jersey employers," Dan said.

"The changes will require some adjustments to handbooks and policies to make sure that they reflect the new legislation - there will also be requirements for businesses to start planning for how they will accommodate the right to 52 weeks of leave, and the requirement to pay for six weeks of that leave.

"Where employers have not yet taken account of the changes and begun planning for how they will accommodate the new workplace rights, they should begin to do so without delay." The States subsidy will continue until work on the parental benefit proposals have been completed, scrutinised and adopted by the Assembly, with that work expected to be completed early in 2021.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.