On 24 February 2015, the States of Jersey approved the Appointed Day act for Amendment No.8 to the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 (“Amendment No.8”).

The changes brought about by Amendment No.8 will come into force in two phases. The first phase of changes was fairly limited in scope and took effect on 1 April 2015. The second phase will come
into effect on 1 September 2015 and will bring about the main bulk of the amendments detailed in Amendment No.8. We have set out below a summary of the key changes brought about by Amendment No.8.

CHANGES IN FORCE FROM 1 APRIL 2015

  • Notice periods: The minimum periods of notice required to be given by an employee are amended so that employees will now be required to give notice as follows: 
    • Where an employee has more than one week of service but less than 26 weeks’ service: 1 week’s notice;
    • Where an employee has been employed for 26 weeks but less than 5 years: 2 weeks’ notice; and
    • Where an employee has been employed for 5 years or more: 4 weeks’ notice.
  • Minimum rest periods: Article 10 of the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 (the “Law”) is amended to clarify what will constitute an uninterrupted rest period, particularly in respect of workers who are required to be “on call”.

CHANGES TO TAKE EFFECT FROM 1 SEPTEMBER 2015

In addition to the above, from 1 September 2015, Amendment No.8 will introduce a number of family friendly rights.

  • Flexible working: Amendment No.8 introduces the right to request flexible working arrangements and establishes a statutory regime for such requests. Employees who have been employed for 15 months or more will be able to request a change to their hours, times or place of work if the reason for the change is to enable them to care for another person. Employers will only be able to deny valid requests for flexible working on the basis of specific grounds set out in the Law.
  • Maternity leave: The new regime also introduces statutory maternity leave provisions. Regardless of length of service, all employees who have given birth will be entitled to two weeks’ paid leave following the birth of a child (“Compulsory Maternity Leave”).
  • In addition, employees who comply with the notification requirements set out in the Law will be entitled to a further period of unpaid leave, referred to as Ordinary Maternity Leave. The length of Ordinary Maternity Leave will depend on an employee’s length of service, i.e.:
    • Where an employee has less than 15 months’ continuous service: 6 weeks’ Ordinary Maternity Leave (in addition to Compulsory Maternity Leave); and
    • Where an employee has 15 months’ or more continuous service: 16 weeks’ Ordinary Maternity Leave (in addition to Compulsory Maternity Leave).

Amendment No.8 also introduces protections for those returning to work immediately after a period of Compulsory or Ordinary Maternity Leave. Returning individuals will be entitled to return to the job in which they were employed immediately prior to their absence on terms and conditions no less favourable than those that would have applied had they not been absent.

  • Adoption leave: Amendment No.8 also introduces adoption leave on substantively similar terms to maternity leave, save that there is no Compulsory Leave equivalent. Employees who comply with the notification requirements set out in the Law shall be entitled unpaid adoption leave as follows:
    • Where an employee has less than 15 months’ continuous service: 8 weeks’ Ordinary Maternity Leave; and 
    • Where an employee has 15 months’ or more continuous service: 18 weeks’ Ordinary Maternity Leave.
  • Other family friendly rights: There are a number of other family friendly measures introduced by Amendment No.8 such as the right to paid time off for antenatal appointments and the introduction of paternity leave for up to 2 weeks following the birth of a child. Paternity leave will available to employees who are the father of a child or married to, the civil partner of or the partner of the child’s mother or adopter (but not the child’s father or adopter). Employees wanting to claim paternity leave will need to comply with the notification requirements set out in the Law and they must have, or expect to have, responsibility for the upbringing of the child.

INCREASE TO MINIMUM WAGE

In addition to the above, we also note that from 1 April 2015, the minimum wage increased from £6.63 to £6.78. The following rates have also increased:

  • The current trainee rates have increased as follows:
    • Year One: £5.09 per hour; and
    • Year Two: £5.93 per hour.
  • The current maximum values that may be offset each week against the minimum wage where accommodation, or accommodation and food, are provided to an employee, are increased as follows:
    • £74.21 for accommodation (or £55.66 where the employee receives either the first year or second year trainee rate); and
    • £98.94 for accommodation and food (or £74.21 where the employee receives either the first year or second year trainee rate.

COMMENT

Employers should act now to ensure they have adequate policies and procedures in place to deal with the changes brought about by Amendment No.8, particularly in respect of the family friendly rights that will come into force in September 2015. The Law in these areas can be technical. A well-drafted
and properly applied policy can protect against breaches of the Law and lower the risk of resultant tribunal claims.