Increases to maternity leave and new rights to flexible working will come into force in September following the agreement by the States of Jersey to enact the new laws.

Although there are six months before the Draft Employment (Amendment of Law) (No. 2) (Jersey) Regulations 201- are due to take effect, now is the time for employers and HR teams to get to grips with the changes.

Five Things You Need to Know

Maternity leave - Increased to up to 26 weeks (with six weeks at full pay) with no qualifying period required

Parental leave - Increased to up to 26 weeks (with two weeks at full pay) with no qualifying period required

Antenatal appointments for the father/partner - Unlimited attendance with up to ten hours paid

Adoption leave - Equivalent to maternity and parental leave with the elected adopter taking the equivalent of maternity leave

Right to request flexible working - Now available to all employees from day one of employment, irrespective of reasons for the request

Five Things You Need to Do

Costs - Smaller employers especially must budget for increased costs as the amount of paid maternity and parental leave increases

Return to work - When someone takes maternity/paternity leave, you need to allow for their right to return to the same job that they left

Discrimination - The law protects pregnancy and maternity and makes it unlawful to discriminate, harass or victimise any person on these grounds, including in recruitment/promotion decisions

Communicate - Consider who in your team needs to know about the rules, and who needs specific training on one or more elements of the law

Rewrite - Your employee handbooks, policies and handouts to new starters will have to be updated in line with the new rules